The Federal High Court sitting in Jos on Thursday sentenced a Jos-based businessman, Mr Ibrahim Suleiman, to five years imprisonment for hacking into the system of the now-defunct First Inland Bank Plc.
The trial judge, Justice Ayo Emmanuel, who delivered judgment in a case of N400 million fraud that spanned 12 years, found Suleiman guilty on all the eight charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Suleiman was first arraigned on June 20, 2007, for allegedly hacking into the system of the bank and stealing N400 million.
Delivering his judgement, Emmanuel said that the convict had tried to deceive the court for 12 years by adopting funny antics to stall the trial.
According to the Judge, Suleiman consistently claimed that he was always coming from Ibadan to attend the court session in Jos.
“All the evidences before me point to the fact that monies withdrawn after the bank’s system was hacked into, went into the account of Suleiman.
“Several amounts of money were transferred into accounts of different persons from the hacked N400.7 million, with N165 million entering into the accused person’s account.
“The accused claimed that the N165million deposited into his account was from the sale of a piece of land at Babale Village, near Jos, but all evidence before me proved otherwise.
“The truth is that the money was part of the amount laundered by Suleiman, when he hacked into the server of the bank.”
Justice Emmanuel said that the offence committed by Suleiman led to the collapse of the defunct First Inland Bank Plc, which, he noted, affected many innocent persons.
“Having found you guilty of all the charges, I will sentence you to prison to serve as a deterrent to others,” he declared.
The Defence Counsel, Mr Charles Obishai (SAN), pleaded with the Judge to tamper Justice with mercy since Suleiman was a first offender, who had no previous record of conviction.
He also told the court that Suleiman was a family man with responsibilities.
In his judgment, Justice Emmanuel sentenced Suleiman to between two and five years imprisonment on each of the eight counts. The sentences are to run concurrently in accordance with section 16 (b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.