Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos State High Court on Thursday sentenced a banker, named Olawale Garuba to 39 years imprisonment for stealing from the dead. The convict was arraigned alongside six others for conspiring among themselves to steal over N30 million from the bank account of a deceased customer in the bank where the convict works.
The fraud was uncovered by the bank when they discovered that some of their staff, including the convict, had connived with proxies to steal from a dormant account of one of the bank’s customers. Upon the discovery of the fraud, the bank apprehended the staff and handed them over to EFCC for investigation and prosecution.
Upon their arraignment, they pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of fraud. Justice Ipaye refused their bail application and remanded them in prison custody. Later, the convicted banker changed his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty”.
He was immediately convicted by Justice Ipaye, who adjourned the case till the day he will be sentenced. Counsel representing the banker, by the name Barr O. Ajanaku, pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.
He told the court that his client was remorseful for the crime and that was a first time offender with a young wife and two little children. Prosecution counsel, Abba Mohammed, urged the court to consider the three way traffic while tampering justice with mercy.
After listening to the prayers of the counsels, Justice Ipaye said despite the remorse of the convict, she had no sympathy for him as he compromised his position as a banker to steal from a deceased customer whose money would have been used by the family she left behind.
She added that the convict allowed his greed to overcome him and risk losing the job that thousands of job seekers are craving to get. The judge found the banker guilty on 13 of the eighteen counts, and sentenced him to three years imprisonment on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently from the date of his first detention and the total number of his prison terms is 39 years imprisonment.
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