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Ex-CBN Manager Maurice, accused of N39m fraud lands in prison



By Paul Iyoghojie

Operatives of the Zone 2 Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Onikan, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria have arrested a 59-year-old former Assistant Manager with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Etifit Collins Maurice, and charged him before a Lagos Magistrate for allegedly obtaining the sum of N39,000,000 from a businessman under false pretense.

Police alleged that Maurice collected the money from the complainant, Ikye Ezimona with a promise to help him change the money to Naira equivalent, but that the defendant failed to fulfill the promise and instead converted the money to his use.

Police further alleged that when the complainant waited for months without seeing him and hearing from the defendant about the money and his phones switched off, he petitioned the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG in charge of Zone 2 Command, Lagos who swiftly directed his crack team led by ASP Fatai Akinrinmade to go after the defendant.

The Police team swung into action and arrested him at a hideout in Lagos.

The defendant, a resident of CBN Estate 11, Alakija, Lagos was charged before the Igbosere Magistrate’s Court sitting at the Tinubu Magistrate’s Court, Lagos Island, Lagos on a four-count bordering on obtaining money under false pretense, issuance of dud cheque and stealing.

Police Prosecuting Counsel, ASP Francis Igbinosa informed the Court in charge Marked B/15/2023 that the defendant committed the offence in August, 2022 at the CBN Estate 11, Alakija, Lagos.

Igbinosa told the Court that the defendant tricked the complainant and told him that as a former Assistant Manager with the Central Bank of Nigeria, he had the connection to change the sum of N39m to dollars equivalent for him without stress and that he believed him and gave him the N39m to help him change it to dollars equivalent.

Igbinosa further told the Court that after the defendant collected the money from the complainant, he failed to change the N39m to dollars equivalent as promised but instead converted the money to his use.

He said that the defendant on the pretext of paying back part of the money to the complainant, issued a N10m UBA bank cheque but that when the cheque was presented at the bank for payment, it was dishonoured on the ground that there were no funds in the account.

Igbinosa said the offences the defendant committed were punishable under sessions 411, 314, 287, and 319 (b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and his counsel, Barr. Anayo Agbo urged the court to grant the defendant bail in the most liberal terms with a promise that the defendant would not jump bail if granted because he is a responsible man who had worked with the highest bank in the land, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The Magistrate, B. A Sonuga granted the defendant N2m bail with two sureties in like sum.

Sonuga adjourned the case till 24 May, 2023 for mention and ordered that the defendant be detained at the Ikoyi correctional facility till he perfected the bail conditions.

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