A businessman Andrew Warri who was alleged to have defrauded GTBank sum of N125 million was re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Olubusola Okunnuga of the Special Offences Court, sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
The defendant was arraigned alongside two other companies; A.M.Projects Consultancy Limited and Ranez Medical Consultancy Limited on a five-count charge bordering on stealing, obtaining by false pretence, and issuance of dud cheques.
After listening the charge preferred against him, Andrew Warri pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Abubakar Usman, asked the court to fix a date for trial. He further asked the court to remand the defendant in a Correctional Facility, adding that the prosecution was ready to prove its case against the defendants.
However, the defence counsel, A. M. Makinde (SAN) prayed the court to allow the defendant to continue on the earlier bail granted him by the previous trial judge, as he has not violated any of the conditions.
In his objection the prosecutor argued that the matter is starting de novo (afresh) and therefore, he should re-apply for bail, noting that the defendant is a flight risk.
Ruling on the bail application, Justice Olubusola Okunuga held that the defendant should continue to enjoy the earlier bail granted to him as he had not violated the conditions.
Earlier before his re-arraignment, the prosecutor had informed the court that the Commission had an amended charge against the defendant following the ruling of “No Case Submission” which discharged the defendant of counts one and two.
Recall that Justice Sherifa Solebo of the same court had delivered the ruling before she retired from the bench, and the case was subsequently transferred to Justice Okunnuga for trial.
According to the ruling, Warri was discharged and acquitted on counts one and two of the charge, while the court said he has case to answer on counts three to six and therefore ordered him to defend himself on the said counts.
One of the counts reads: “Andrew Warri, A.M. Projects Consultancy Limited, sometime in May 2012 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of N125,000,000 from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc under the guise that the proceeds of the Rural Health Care and Referral contract with Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be domiciled in your account with Guaranty Trust Bank, the said pretense you knew, or ought to have known is false.”
Another count reads: “Andrew Warri, Ranez Medical Consultancy Limited, on or about 28th October 2018 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, issued a Zenith Bank cheque for the sum of N10,000,000 payable to A.M. Projects Consultancy Limited, in favor of Guaranty Trust Bank, which upon presentation for payment was dishonored on the grounds that no sufficient funds were standing to your credit.”