A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday sentenced a former acting Managing Director of Century Microfinance Bank Limited, Olise Robinson, to 19 years imprisonment for stealing N29 million from the bank.
Justice Okon Abang convicted Robinson of five counts of stealing, signature forgery, uttering of documents and criminal breach of trust.
According to the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, Robinson committed the offences while acting as the bank’s head between June 2008 and November 2009.
Prosecution counsel Chukwu Agwu said the offences contravened Sections 390(6), 463 and 468 of the Criminal Code 2008 and were punishable under Section 467 of the same Act.
Robinson pleaded not guilty.
During the trial, Agwu called four witnesses and tendered several exhibits.
The defendant testified for himself.
Convicting Robinson yesterday, Justice Abang noted that the defendant failed to give evidence that he didn’t receive the amount and provided no evidence to show that he invested the money in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Treasure Bills.
He said: “The prosecution has been able to sufficiently prove the essential ingredients of the allegations against the defendant.
“Consequently, I find the defendant guilty of all the counts of the charge”.
The convict’s counsel, Mr Oyelola Damilola, offered an allocutus on his client’s behalf, asking the court to tamper justice with mercy.
“He is the only breadwinner of his young family. He is also a first time offender, with no previous criminal record. He has also been remorseful about his action,” Damilola told the judge.
But Agwu opposed him.
The prosecutor told the judge to disregard Damilola’s plea because “the convict never showed any sign of remorse while the trial lasted.”
Agwu argued that “in sentencing the convict, the court must look at principles of sentencing whether it is a mitigating or aggravating factor.”
He said the convict’s case “is constipated with aggravating factors,” which prevented Robinson from being entitled “to leniency or liberal conditions.”
Following the submissions, Justice Abang discountenanced the defendant’s allocutus.
The judge held: “This is a case that the convict is a hardened criminal that has no human sympathy. He was entrusted with investors’ monies. He inflicted pains on the investors who lodged their monies in his bank while he fraudulently moved the money to his account in Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).
“He is an avenger of evil; he is a fraudulent and lawless person. He planted thorns; he is not expected to gather flowers. Drastic situations deserve drastic solutions.
“The convict is hereby sentenced to seven years in count one, three years in count two, three years in count three, three years in count four and three years in count five.
“The terms of the sentence are to run concurrently”.
In the charge, Robinson was said to have converted the sum of N5 million which the bank reserved to buy CBN’s Treasury Bills.
He was also said to have fraudulently withdrawn N100,000, for 15 months, which he claimed was security vote without any approval and which he was unable to account for.
He was also accused of fraudulently diverting N9 million belonging to different investors of the bank to his private account with GTB and forging several documents to cover his tracks.