A marketer with Diamond Bank Plc, Okota branch, Lagos, who reportedly fled with a sum of N309,000 collected as deposits from traders, has been arrested by the police.
The bank had contracted the suspect, Isiaka Abiodun, from Strategic Outsourcing Limited in the Lekki area of the state in 2013.
It was learnt that Abiodun had collected the sum from one Mrs. Nneka Eze, a trader in Lekki, and two others, identified only as Ebulu and Chidera.
PunchMetro, however, gathered that only Eze, whose deposit was N300,000, had approached the bank on the alleged fraud.
A Punch correspondent was told that the 28-year-old suspect had obtained the sum from the traders sometime in July 2015, but disappeared from the bank in November, when the fraud was discovered.
The bank was said to have reported the crime to the company through which Abiodun was employed. It was learnt that the chief security officer of the firm consequently reported the case at the Ajah Police Division.
The police said the suspect was later tracked down to his house on March 7, 2016.
But in his statement to the police, Abiodun said he used the money to pay the medical bill of his mother who had a stroke. He said he intended to refund the money piecemeal from his salaries, adding that he had repaid N50,000.
He said, â€œI am a contract worker with the bank and I have been working there for three years. It is true that I collected N309,000 from the bank customers. But I used the money to treat my mother who had a stroke. I travelled in November to attend to her. I have paid N50,000 to the bank. I intend to pay the balance in instalment from my salary.â€
A police prosecutor, Inspector I. Okeke, brought the suspect before a Tinubu Magistrateâ€™s Court on Monday on one count of stealing.
Okeke told the court that the defendant had confessed to the offence, which is punishable under Section 285 (7) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The charge read, â€œThat you, Isiaka Abiodun (28), sometime in July, 2015 at Diamond Bank, Okota branch, Okota, in the Lagos Magisterial District, being a marketer attached to the bank from Strategic Outsourcing Limited, Southern View Estate, Lekki, Lagos, did steal a sum of N309,000 given to you for saving, being property of one Mrs. Nneka Eze, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 285 (7) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.â€
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the count and elected summary trial.
He was granted bail by the presiding magistrate, Mr. A. Adefulire, in the sum of N400,000 with two sureties in like sum.
The magistrate added that the sureties must tender evidence of tax payments and details of their residential addresses to the court for verification.
The case was adjourned till April 20, 2016.