The Police Special Fraud Unit in Lagos has charged the managing director and chief executive officer of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, with 21 counts of conspiracy and stealing before an Ogun State High Court.

Mr Wigwe, Alawode Oluseye, Bayo Adesina, and Access Bank Plc are accused of conspiring and stealing 23,754.413 metric tonnes of steel billets valued at ₦2.5 billion belonging to BMCE Bank International Plc.

The alleged crime took place in June 2017 at the premises of Metal Africa Steel Products Limited along Sagamu/Ikorodu road, Ewe Jagun, in Ogun State, the police said.

According to the police, the defendants falsely presented themselves as the owners and sold the steel billets to Metal Africa Steel Products Limited without the authorisation of the actual owner.

The police said the defendants forged the Bill of Ladings number: MJINLOS150007’1A’; MJINLOS150007 ‘1B’; MJINLOS150007 ‘1C’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2A’; MJINLOS150007’2B’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2C’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2C’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2D’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2E’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2F’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2G’; MJINLOS150007

‘2H’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2I’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2J’; MJINLOS150007 ‘2k’; MJINLOS150007’2L’ and
MJINLOS150007’2M’, which they claimed were issued on January 9, 2016.

The offences according to the police are contrary to and punishable under Sections 518(6), 434, 383(1)(f) and 390(9), 516 and 464 and 467 of the criminal Code of Ogun State of Nigeria, 2006.

The offences also contravened Section 1(1)(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act No. 14 of 2006.

During their arraignment, only Mr Oluseye was present in court. He pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Edoka Onyeke, counsel to the defendants, however, informed the court that his clients were exploring an out-of-court settlement with the complainant.

He requested for a short adjournment.

N.I Agbelu, the judge adjourned till April 4 for report of the settlement.

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