A former Branch Manager of Ekondo Microfinance Bank, Uyanga, Cross Rivers State, Augustine Effiong Bassey, has been given a five year prison sentence for diverting the sum of N27.3 million belonging to the bank for his private use.
Justice Adie A. Onyebueke of the Cross River State High Court, gave the judgement on Friday.
According to a statement released by the EFCC, Bassey’s journey to prison began sometime in July 2016 when he was arrested by the EFCC upon intelligence that he used his position as the branch manager of Ekondo Microfinance Bank, Uyanga, Cross Rivers State to convert the sum of N27.3 million (Twenty Seven Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira), belonging to bank to his private use.
The former manager did this by personally carting away the said sum from the bank’s vault, given it to his fronts for execution of non-existent contracts for the bank.
He was prosecuted by the Enugu Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), on a one-count charge of stealing.
The charge read, “That you, Augustine Effiong Bassey (‘m’), sometime between 2010 and 2012 at Uyanga, Cross River State, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Cross River State, with the intent to defraud, stole the sum of N27,300,000 (Twenty-seven Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira), being property of Ekondo Microfinance Bank Limited and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 390 of the Criminal Code law, CAP C16 (VOL 3) of the Laws of Cross River State of Nigeria,2004 and punishable under Section 390(9) of the same Law.”
The statement added that Mr. Bassey pleaded “not guilty” to the charge, thus setting the stage for his trial.
But with the prosecuting counsel, Fortune Amina I. Asemebo proving the case beyond reasonable doubt, Justice Onyebueke convicted and sentenced him to prison, with an option of restituting the sum of N15 million to Ekondo Microfinance Bank.