Court Acquits Couple Over Allegation Of Operating Illegal Banking ServicesFeatured, Latest News, News Across Nigeria, News From The State Friday, February 19th, 2021
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Six years after their arraignment, a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu presided over by Justice R. O. Dugbo-Oghoghorie has discharged and acquitted one Patrick Shanchi Nwokike and his wife, Mrs Rosemary Ifeoma NwokiIke of allegations of operating an illegal wonder bank.
Dugbo-Oghoghorie yesterday in a 143-paged judgment held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed woefully to prove its case against the couple and their firm, Let’s Partner With You.
The judge said that in criminal proceedings, the burden lay on the prosecution to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt as against beyond every shadow of doubt.
The judge, therefore, resolved all the issues on a four-count charge preferred against the defendants by the EFCC in favour of the defendants.
Recall that the couple alongside their Limited Liability Company, ‘Let’s Partner With You’, was arraigned on Nov. 15, 2016 on a four-count charge bordering on alleged operation of banking business without a valid license.
The offense was said to be contrary to Sect. 2(1) and 49(1) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, CAP B3, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and punishable under Sect. 2(2) of the same Act.
They were also accused of inviting the public through advertisement to deposit money with them without authorisation contrary to Sect. 44(1) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, CAP B3, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
The offense was said to be punishable under Sect. 44(2) of the same Act.
However, the court held that non of the witnesses presented by the prosecution was able to establish that the defendants were either operating a banking business or invited the public to deposit money.
“The law provides that for a business to constitute banking business by receiving deposits, the cash deposit must have been received on current account, savings account or other similar account,
“As regards to counts one and two of the charge, the business of the defendants is not banking business as provided for under the laws upon which they are charged.
“On counts three and four, the prosecution learned counsel has failed to provide cogent and compelling evidence for this court to hold that the defendants made advertisements for the public to deposit cash on current account, savings account or other similar account,” Dugbo-Oghoghorie said..
African Examiner also recall that one of the prosecution witnesses, Mr Mojola Abayomi, a deputy director with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had under cross examination told the court that the defendants were not running a banking business.
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