Nigeria—Okon Abang, a Federal High Court judge on Monday revealed the roles two Nigerian banks played in the N2 billion pension fraud perpetrated by a former chairperson of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.
It was gathered earlier that the judge sentenced Maina to eight years imprisonment in his judgment at the end of a two-year trial on Monday.
According to the judge, the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Fidelity Bank Plc were used by Mr. Maina as “conduit” to defraud pensioners.
Noting that the convict’s fraudulent activities ‘ruined’ many homes in the country, Mr. Abang said the two banks ought to have been charged alongside Mr. Maina for serving as ‘conduits’ through which the stolen funds were channeled.
In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2019, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that Mr. Maina used fictitious names to open and operate various bank accounts.
He also recruited his relatives that were bankers to operate fake bank accounts through which illicit funds were channeled.
“UBA and Fidelity Bank Plc should have been arraigned with a convict for illegal transactions,” Mr. Abang held, adding that their licenses should have been withdrawn.”
“The banks benefitted from the profits of illegal transactions. UBA and Fidelity Bank provided the channels with which the convict (Maina) used in defrauding the Federal government,” Mr. Abang also said.
He said the banks abdicated their responsibilities by failing to carry out due diligence to establish the true identities of persons in whose names Mr. Maina opened and operated the fictitious bank accounts.
The court noted that the prevalence of monumental financial fraud in Nigeria’s public sector calling for drastic measures to tackle the problem.
“The facts of this case portray the moral decadence of the society we live in. I think we need a National rebirth of guaranteed regeneration,” the judge said.
Mr. Abang said while the convict t lived in opulence at the expense of pensioners his victims dies in penury in Nigeria.