A compliance officer with First Bank Plc, Chris Ekpe, has told a Lagos Special Offences Court, sitting in Ikeja that the real name of the alleged fake Army General is Hassan Kareem Ayinde.
While testifying before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, the compliance officer also narrated how the alleged fake army General, known as Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun, perfected his change of name before swindling a businessman to the tune of N270 million.
The witness, while being led in evidence by Rotimi Oyedepo, the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), confirmed to the court that his bank received a notary publication dated December 20, 2016, with a letter of change of account name from the defendant on February 2, 2017.
He noted that the bank thereafter changed the account name from Hassan Kareem Ayinde to Olusegun Abiodun Bolarinwa.
When asked about the account balance of the defendant as of the time of the change of account name, the witness revealed that it was N1,319.04.
Giving evidence further, the First Bank Compliance Officer revealed how huge sums started coming into the defendant’s account from the complainant’s account domiciled in UBA and how it was utilised for various personal needs ranging from debit alerts of boutiques and ATM withdrawals.
The prosecutor subsequently tendered the EFCC’s letter of request sent to the bank, Certificate of Compliance and Identification, the bank’s response letter, and the account records of the defendants.
The documents were admitted in evidence as exhibits following no opposition from the defendant’s counsel, Kayode Lawal.
The court also listened to the testimony of another bank staff, a United Bank of Africa (UBA) Relationship Manager, Emmanuel Emaikwo. He also tendered documents to back up his oral testimony before the court.
After this, the prosecutor, Oyedepo asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to bring the Investigating Officer and a representative of the Nigeria Army to testify before the court.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned till Friday, the 6th of May for a continuation of the trial.
The alleged fake Army General was charged by the EFCC on a 13-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, forgery of documents, and possession of documents containing false pretence values of N266,500,000.
He was arraigned on April 11, 2022, on offences contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2006; Section 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 and Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006, respectively.
According to the charge: “Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun, between 15th June 2020 and 31st December 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and whilst holding yourself out as a General in the Nigerian Army, obtained the sum of N111,400,000 from a company under the pretence that the sum represented part of the amount expended to “press and process” your incoming appointment by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, as the CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF of the Nigerian Army, which pretence you knew to be false”.
The charge further reads: “Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun, sometime in May 2020 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly forged LETTER OF APPOINTMENT AS CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF dated 20th May 2020 and purported the said document to have emanated from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which document you know to be false”.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.