Some unnamed staff of the Kogi State High court have been fingered for a N4.8 million fraud perpetrated using hard-to-detect fake bank tellers and stamps.
This was contained in a report submitted by the Chairman Revenue Task Force, Sunday Paul to the court’s Acting Chief Judge, Justice Josiah Majebi.
According to The Guardian, the task force was launched by Justice Majebi to principally uncover possible fraudulent activities in the court’s revenue generation.
Paul, the chairman of the Revenue Taskforce, said he had routinely embarked on inspecting the account inflows of the court and realised a gross violation of process.
He also said, in the course of doing that, he learnt about a syndicated mechanism, where payments to the court by legal chambers, their practitioners and other individuals were manipulated with customised bank tellers and bank stamps to defraud the court.
His words: “In the report dated November 9, 2022, and captioned: “Fraudulent Practice”, we gathered, amongst other findings, that in the monthly reconciliation of accounts, the sum of N2.4m said to have been paid into the court’s account was not paid despite evidence of payment showing same.
“On October 28, 2022, the sum of two million, four hundred thousand naira (N2,400,000) was paid as judgment debt revenue and the bank teller was presented as evidence of payment. I went to the bank on November 7, 2022, to collect bank statements for my monthly reconciliation for the month of October 2022. Amazingly, the said N2.4 million was not in the bank statement,” the report indicated.
“Out of curiosity, we consulted the court’s relevant department before revisiting the bank where he further confirmed that there were other similar unremitted transactions.
“In my curiosity to know what happened to the said money, I immediately informed the Process Unit where the money is supposed to come from. I photocopied the teller and I took it to the bank for verification. My verification revealed that the money was not paid into the revenue account.
“In addition, the bank teller presented as evidence of payment to the Process Unit, but the Stamp on the teller and the signature on it were all fake. The fake signature also tallies with those of previous years as an indication of how long the fraud has been perpetrated.”
However, the acting chief judge said the matter is already before police for a thorough investigation. Justice Mojebi urged credibility and honesty from the management and staff of the court, saying that the institution must be preserved for both present and future generations.
“We are all stakeholders in this project called judiciary. Let us be vigilant and honest. Let us not try to destroy it or be assisting others to destroy it,” the judge said. “People were here before us who maintained it and we must leave it devoid of rots for incoming ones too. Let us eradicate all forms of fraudulent practices for the sake of this and the next generations.”