Justice Kudirat Jose of the Ikeja High Court Wednesday granted bail to two staff of MTN who are standing trial over an alleged N1.36 billion fraud.
Victor Akintunde and Gani Mustapha who are officials of MTN staff Corparative Society are facing a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, obtaining, forgery and issuance of dud cheque preffered against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
They are facing trial along with Mutairu Babatunde and two companies Prima Vera Engineering and Construction Ltd and Mabo Dredging Ltd.
Ruling on their bail application Wednesday, Justice Jose granted them bail in the sum of N50 million with two sureties.
The judge ordered that the sureties must be civil servant of grade level 15 or above with three years tax clearance.
She subsequently adjourned the case till 18 March, 2014 for trial.
The EFCC counsel, Emmanuel Jackson, during arraignment of the accused had said that they committed the alleged offence on 18 April, 2008.
He said with intent to defraud, Akintunde, Mustapha, Babatunde alongside their companies Prima Vera Engineering and Construction Ltd, Mabo Dredging Ltd, conspired to steal N127 million, property of MTN Employees’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society (MEMCOS).
Jackson, also said that the defendants on the same day with intent to defraud stole the sum of N50 million belonging to MTN Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society.
He alleged that the sum was fraudulently collected as deposit for payment for land they bought for the society from Mutairu Baba Egbe Family on behalf of the society.
The prosecutor further alleged that the suspects conspired to steal the sum of N77 million, property of MTN Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, being outstanding refund for five hectares out of 13 hectares of land with defective title from Mutairu Baba Egbe Family.
Jackson stated that Mutairu Babatunde and Primavera Engineering and Construction Ltd, stole the sum of N516.697 million, property of MTN (MEMCOS) being the sum he fraudulently used to compensate early settlers on 26 hectares of land amounting to 321 plots of land.
EFCC also alleged that the defendants on 3 August, 2009, stole the sum of N515,697, property of (MEMCOS) which they fraudulently converted through Mabo Dredging Ltd.
According to the counsel, the defendants stole N592.820 million from (MEMCOS), under false pretence that the money represents payment to Lagos State Government for documentation and governor’s consent.
The defendants were also said to have on April 25, 2008, obtained the sum of N990 million under the pretence that the money represents payment for 13 hectares of land at Okun Ajah Community.
The third, fourth and fifth, defendants, were accused of issuing a First Bank cheque
No. PC 68290484 in the sum of N427 million, in favour of the MTN Employees’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative Ltd, which was dishonured when it was presented at the bank for lack of sufficient fund in the account.
The offences committed, according to EFCC, is contrary to section 516, 390(9) of the criminal code Cap C17, Vol 2 laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003. It also contravens sections 6, 8 (a) (b) and 1 (3) of the advanced fee fraud and other fraud related offences Act 2006.
The offences also contravene section 1 (a) (a) (I) of the dishonoured cheques Act 2004 and forgery contrary to section 467 of the criminal Code Cap C17, Vol. 2 laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.