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Nzekwesi vs. F.R.N.

CHIEF FRANCIS OKWUCHUKWU NZEKWESI

V

THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

COURT OF APPEAL

( KADUNA DIVISION )

ISAAYO SALAMI, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

DALHATU ADAMU, JCA

JOSEPH JEREMIAH UMOREN, JCA

CA/K/229/99

TUESDAY, 10TH DECEMBER, 2002

APPEAL - Cross-appeal - Duty of respondent to file when decision of trial tribunal flies against provisions of the enactment under consideration

APPEAL - Evaluation of evidence by trial court - Attitude of appellate Court thereto

BANKING - Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap. 102, Laws of the Federation, 1990, section 1(b)(i) specifying sentence to imprisonment for two years without option of fine for dishonoured cheques - Trial tribunal acting contrary thereto - Attitude of appellate court

BANKING - Financial crime - Bank fraud amounting to over N119 million  Where proved - Lenient sentences imposed by trial tribunal Undesirability of

BANKING - Financial crime - Bank fraud amounting to over N119 million - Charge for obtaining credit by means of cheques which were dishonoured contrary to section 1(b)(i), Dishonoured Cheques ( offences) Act - Trial tribunal imposing sentence of option of fine contrary to the said statute - Impropriety of

BANKING - Interest on overdrafts - Power of bank to charge

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Financial crime - Bank fraud amounting to over N119 million - Where proved - Lenient sentences imposed by trial tribunal - Undesirability of

EVIDENCE - Proof - Burden of - On whom lies

STATUTE - Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap. 102, Laws of the Federation, 1990, section 1(b)(i) specifying sentence to imprisonment for two years without option of fine for dishonoured cheques - Trial tribunal acting contrary thereto - Attitude of appellate court

Issue:

Having regard to the circumstance of this case, was the lower tribunal right to find that the appellant only paid N58,022,757.40 and is still indebted to the tune of N19,749,138.00 to Nigeria Arab Bank Limited.

Facts:

The appellant as the second accused was charged before the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Tribunal in Lagos for obtaining credit for himself by means of cheques which, when presented for payment within three months of the date of the cheques, were dishonoured on the ground of no funds or insufficient funds standing to the credit of the appellant in the bank on which the cheques were drawn, contrary to and punishable under section 1(b)(i) of the Dishonourable Cheques ( Offences) Act, Cap 102 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,  1990.

At the conclusion of trial, the learned chairman of the tribunal, after finding the appellant guilty and convicting him, ordered that ‘all property deposited by the appellant to be forfeited by the Federal Government to cover the amount still pending.” And he was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment or N100,000.00 fine in lieu of the count of issuing dud cheques. The appellant being dissatisfied with the finding of the tribunal to the effect that he paid only N58,022,757.40 as well as the forfeiture order, appealed to the Court of Appeal.