On Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned two bankers, Freeman Jacob and Umar Abdullahi, before Justice Simon Akpah Amobeda of the Federal High Court in Kano. The charges against them include conspiracy and stealing, as stated in a three-count charge.
Additionally, Ahmed Bashir and Abdulhakim Musa (aka Gandu) were also arraigned for their involvement with Jacob and Abdullahi in 2020. The EFCC alleges that the defendants conspired to create an ATM card under the name of Alhaji Sani Muntari and used it to steal N20 million from his bank account.
One of the charges specifies that Jacob and Abdullahi, in collaboration with Bashir and Musa, primed and issued an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card using the bank account of Alhaji Sani Mutari without his knowledge or consent, which is an offense punishable under Section 14 (7) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act, 2015.
The defendants allegedly obtained the victim’s SIM card, which had been stolen by Bashir, the third defendant, and used it to produce the fraudulent ATM card with the assistance of Jacob and Abdullahi. During the investigation, authorities traced some of the stolen funds to the bank account of Musa, the fourth defendant and a friend of Bashir.
However, all the defendants pleaded not guilty. The prosecution counsel, Aisha Tahar Habib, requested that the defendants be remanded and asked the court to schedule a trial date. The defense counsel representing the first and second defendants made an oral bail application, which the prosecution opposed, stating that a formal application should be submitted.
The representative for the fourth defendant, L.A Umar, indicated the intention to file a formal bail application and requested a date to do so, as well as serve the prosecution. After considering the submissions from both parties, Justice Amobeda agreed with the prosecution that bail applications should be formal, as the court is a court of record. Consequently, he remanded the defendants and adjourned the matter until June 26, 2023, for the hearing of bail applications and the commencement of the trial.