The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, has revealed how two army officers allegedly connived with two employees of the United Bank for Africa Plc to divert the sum of N339m from the account of the Military Pensions Board (MPB).
In a letter dated May 23, 2017 and addressed to the Chief of Defence Staff, Magu said the suspects, who were later charged with fraud offences on May 31, 2017, allegedly opened 33 accounts with UBA into which the funds belonging to MPB were diverted, The Punch reports.
In the letter with reference number EFCC/EC/CDS/66/16, the acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency said that the total sum of N339,374,478.58 was withdrawn from the MPB account across the counter or transferred to other accounts in the bank.
The two military officers accused in all the four counts filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja are Wing Commander Ishaka Yakubu; and an Assistant Director, Computer, with the MPB, Lieutenant Commander Akinbamidele Odunsi.
The two bankers named as defendants in two out of the four counts are a Relationship Manager with UBA, Kuforodua (Wuse Zone 2) branch, Abuja, Mrs Abidemi Kolade, and the Manager of the branch, Mrs Violet Ogoegbunam.
Presenting the Chief of Defence Staff with an update on the progress of the investigation on the case, prior to the filing of the charges, Magu said the bankers compromised the ‘Know Your Customer’ requirements in collusion with military officers in the opening of the 33 accounts used in diverting the MPB’s funds.
He said: “Investigation discovered that fraudulent accounts were opened by the Business Manager, Mrs Violet Ofoegbunam, and relationship manager, Mrs Kolade Aderemi Abidemi, thereby compromising the ‘Know Your Customer’ requirements with the connivance of the two military officers.
“Thirty-three accounts were identified to have fraudulently received payments to the tune of N339,374,478.58 from Military Pensions Board between April and June 2016.”
The acting EFCC boss further said that the bankers and their spouses were also among the beneficiaries of the alleged fraud.
He stated that UBA had discovered the alleged scam after the bank’s team of auditors detected ‘some suspicious movement of funds from the accounts of supposed next of kins of deceased soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Magu noted that all the 33 accounts into which the money was diverted had been frozen, adding that out of the stolen N339m, the sum of N314m had been recovered and kept in the EFCC Recovery Account.