A Federal High Court in Lagos has heard how thieves hacked United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc computers and stole N752 million from a Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, account.
One of the bank’s auditors, Mr Ojo Oladimeji, told Justice Chuka Obiozor that the hackers illegally penetrated the bank’s servers.
He said they gained access to the firm’s account and transferred N752m to 20 accounts, including one allegedly belonging to Ola Lawal, a.k.a Lawal Roland and his company, DCAN Oil and Gas Ltd.
The theft occurred between June 24 and July 3, 2019.
Oladimaji stated these on Tuesday while testifying in a criminal trial against Lawal.
Lawal and DCAN Oil and Gas Ltd are standing trial on a two-count charge of fraudulent transfer of N46 million from Flour Mills’ UBA account to DCAN’s account domiciled in Union Bank Plc,” when they knew “that the funds form part of unlawful activities.”
They pleaded not guilty following their arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on October 14.
Justice Chuka Obiozor adjourned till Wednesday to hear and determine the defendant’s bail application and begin trial.
At the commencement of proceedings, Oladimeji, who is the first prosecution witness, was led in evidence by EFCC counsel Mr. M. K. Hussain.
He narrated how Flour Mill’s N752m was stolen.
Oladimeji said it was discovered that “the sum of N752 million had been fraudulently transferred from one of our customer’s account, Flour Mills Nigeria Limited, to 20 different accounts, which the defendant’s company’s account was a beneficiary.
“Flour Mills’ account was hacked between June 24 and July 3, 2019, and the total sum of N752 million was Fraudulently transferred.
“The defendant’s account in Union Bank Plc received N46 million on July 3. We then wrote a letter to our lawyer, Akin Adesomoju, to assist us with a petition to the EFCC to assist in investigation, recovery, arrest and prosecution of the culprits, that was how the defendant was arrested and charged to court after the EFCC investigation”.
During cross-examination by the defendant’s counsel, Mr Ademola Iroko, the witness told the court that he did not know who transferred the money and that that was why the matter was reported to the EFCC. He also stated that the purpose of the transfer was unknown to him.
Oladimeji also said that he did not know the name of Flour Mill’s account officer, but that his bank had the record of how the money was transfered to 20 accounts, which the defendant’s company’s account was one of the beneficiaries.
Earlier, Justice Obiozor admitted the defendant and his company to bail in the sum of N50 million each with one surety in the
like sum, among other terms.
The trial continues on December 12.
According to the EFCC, Lawal, also known as Lawal Roland and DCAN Oil and Gas Ltd “on or about 24th June, 2019, fraudulently transferred the sum of N46,000,000 from Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc account domiciled in United Bank for Africa Plc to DCAN Oil and Gas Limited account domiciled in Union Bank Plc,” when they knew “that the funds form part of unlawful activities.”
The alleged offences contravened sections 2 and 15(2)(d) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and were punishable under Section 15(2)(3) of the same Act.