By Valuable Igbonwelundu and Halima Balogun
For seven years, Sunny Obazee, an funding banker, confronted humiliation, rejection and prosecution for alleged N855 million fraud on the defunct Platinum and Habib Financial institution (PHB).
He joined the financial institution as a Divisional Director, Funding Banking, in December 2007.
Obazee was arraigned and tried by the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) alongside Anayo Nwosu, Olajide Oshodi, Ashok Israni (an Indian businessman), Sunny Obazee, Keystone Financial institution and NULEC Industries Restricted on 13 counts of conspiracy, fraudulent diversion, acquiring below false pretences and theft earlier than Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos Excessive Court docket, Igbosere in 2011.
However on December 9, Justice Jose discharged and acquitted Obazee in a judgment that despatched Nwosu, Oshodi and Israni to 5 years in jail every on seven counts; a tremendous of N20million to the Federal Authorities towards Keystone Financial institution and NULEC Industries on three counts, in addition to restitution of N395million to the sufferer of the fraud, Chief Chukwudozie of Dozzy Oil and Fuel.
For Obazee, the trial years had been days of torture, emotional and psychological trauma, particularly as a result of the fraud he was accused of began no less than two years earlier than he joined the financial institution.
“The psychological torture was nice. At a degree, I needed to file a case of breach of human rights towards the EFCC as a result of they had been harassing and intimidating me with calls and intermittent detention after we had been admitted to bail.
“I’ve a son and a daughter and each had been finding out in Canada. All of us, together with my spouse, had been damaged down emotionally. In reality, sooner or later in 2015, I known as my son and advised him we might be going to court docket the next day and he advised me that he was not feeling okay as a result of he stored fascinated about my ordeal.
“He stated he couldn’t transfer one among his legs and one arm. He was crying on the telephone. He stated he didn’t wish to inform me about his state of affairs in order to not compound my downside. I needed to name my youthful brother, a health care provider in the USA, to assist verify on him.
“The second day in court docket, I sat down weeping profusely and a lady lawyer within the EFCC staff defined my state of affairs to Rotimi Jacobs, the lead lawyer for the company, who introduced the matter to the eye of the court docket.
“The court docket magnanimously granted that I be allowed to go and see my son. Solely God helped me to not lose a boy who was near ending his college schooling over a case I knew nothing about. I might have misplaced Edosa over nothing.
“I used to be denied promotion, sacked and my official automobile was collected. By advantage of my place, the financial institution ought to provide me two vehicles and a generator each 4 years, however earlier than the difficulty began, they solely gave me one automobile and a generator. They sacked me once I was nonetheless pursuing the matter and I wrote them on the necessity to reconcile what I wanted to get from them or return to them.
“They stated they had been coming to take the automobile and the generator and I used to be not at residence the day they got here. They took away the automobile and stated my canines didn’t enable them to take the generator, just for them to later write that I used to be owing them N12 million for the generator.
“Through the trial, a pal advisable me to a British agency coming to Nigeria and who wanted an funding banker.
“I met the officials and we discussed and I told them that I had an issue with EFCC and that I was sure I would come out unscathed. They never got across to me again. The EFCC stamped me with an indelible mark,” he advised The Nation.