Court Reserves Judgment in N855m Fraud Appeal by Indian Bankers

“An Indian businessman, Ashok Israni, and two Keystone Bank officials, Anayo Nwosu and Olajide Oshodi, who were convicted for an N855m fraud, have appealed their verdict and are awaiting the decision of the Court of Appeal in Lagos.

The three-judge panel headed by Justice Olukayode Bada postponed the judgment after hearing from all the lawyers involved.

A special panel of the appeal court that was formed to help clear the backlog of cases had heard the appeal and postponed the judgment in May 2023, but the process was delayed by the death of one of the judges, Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh.

As a result, the appeal was re-examined on Monday by the regular panel of the court led by Justice Bada.

The other judges are Justice Paul Bassi and Justice Folashade Ojo.

Before the appeal, Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos State High Court had found Israni and the two bank officials guilty of an amended 15-count charge of conspiracy and fraud amounting to N855 million on December 9, 2019.

The judge then gave them each five years in jail for theft.

The court also found NULEC Industries Limited, owned by Israni, and Keystone Bank Limited guilty.

The company and the bank were also fined N20 million by the Federal Government and ordered to repay N395 million to the fraud victim.

However, only four months after their conviction, and while their appeals were still pending, they were freed from prison by the Kirikiri Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) on the order of the Lagos State Government.

At the appeal hearing on Monday, the appellants’ lawyers, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun and Abiodun Owonikoko, repeated their plea for the court to overturn the lower court’s verdict, citing the pardon they received from the Lagos State Government.

Olanipekun told the court that the pardon did not erase the impact of the conviction on his client, Anayo, who had been rejected for visas at least twice.

He asked the court to grant the appeal.

But the lawyer for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rotimi Jacobs, argued that there were many legal precedents that showed that pardon could not be given to convicts who had not exhausted their appeal rights.

Jacobs also argued that since the appellants had benefited from the pardon by not serving their sentences, they could not continue with the appeal as that would mean taking advantage of both sides and leaving the victim, who had not been compensated, empty.

He asked the court to declare the pardon unlawful, reject the appeal and confirm the lower court’s judgement.

After listening to the arguments from both sides, Justice Bada postponed the appeal for Judgment.”



Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of and He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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