Justice F. O Ohwo of Delta State High Court, Warri, Delta State, on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, convicted and sentenced Pastor Glory Okeoghene Abrefera and Reverend Vincent Okpogu to seven (7) years imprisonment each for stealing depositors’ funds amounting to N32million ( Thirty- Two Million Naira only).
The two clergymen were nabbed after deceiving unsuspecting members of the public into investing in Mustard Seed Micro Investment Limited, a wonder bank, and defrauded them of their hard-earned money.
While delivering judgment today, Justice Ohwo convicted the accused persons on all of the nine count charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC.
They were sentenced to seven years imprisonment on each count. The sentence is to run concurrently.
According to the judge, the convicts will serve the seven-year term at Okere Prisons in Warri, Delta State, after completing the ten years sentence they are currently serving for illegal banking.
It would be recalled that Abrefera and Okpogu were on January 7, 2013, convicted and sentenced to ten (10) years imprisonment by Justice I. N. Buba of the Federal High Court Asaba, on a 4-count charge, for operating a wonder bank called Mustard Seed Micro Investment Limited.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. G. K. Latona, “the convicts are still answering to other charges at Otor-Udu High Court for related offences.
N3.1bn Subsidy Scam: EFCC RE-ARRAIGNS MAHMUD TUKUR, ALAO, FOUR OTHERS
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ,on Wednesday December 10, re-arraigned the trio of Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdullahi Alao and their companies Eterna Plc, Axenergy, and Star Inspection Services Nigeria Limited on 38-amended count charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and forgery.
The accused persons allegedly colluded among themselves and obtained N3,121,393,098 (Three Billion, One Hundred and Twenty One Million, Three Hundred and Ninety Three Thousand, Ninety Eight Naira Only) from the Federal Government under the guise that the money was for the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
One of the charges read that: “You Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdullahi Alao, Eterna Plc, Axenergy, and Star Inspection Services Nigeria Limited between October and November, 2011 within the jurisdiction of this honorable court with intent to defraud, conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit, obtaining the sum of N1,222,154,152 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Twenty Two Million, One Hundred and Fifty Four Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty Two Naira Only) by false pretense , from the Federal Government of Nigeria purporting the said sum to be subsidy fund by falsely claiming to have imported 13, 701, 569 litres of premium Motor Spirit into Nigeria through the mother vessel MT Valle Di Castiglia and the Daughter vessel MT Deepwater and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related offences Act 2006.”
The accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jabobs, SAN, requested a trial date in view of the plea of the accused persons. Counsel to the 1st , 2nd and 4th accused persons as well as counsel to the 3rd and 5th accused persons requested the court to allow the accused persons maintain their bail terms and condition granted earlier by the same court.
Justice Akapo allowed the accused persons to continue to enjoy the terms of bail earlier granted them by court and adjourned the matter to March 2 , 3 and 4, 2015 for commencement of trial.
N24bn Police Pension Fraud: Court Admits Crucial Evidence
The trial of Esai Dangabar and six others who are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for their complicity in the police pension scam continued on Wednesday, December 10, before Justice Husseini Bala Yusuf of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The accused: Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Mrs Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula, Sani Habila Zira, Uzoma Cyril Attang and Christain Madubuke who were alleged to have defrauded the Police Pension Office to the tune of N24billion were arraigned on April 10, 2013 on a 20 count amended charge that bordering on criminal breach of trust contrary to section 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
At the resumed hearing of the case today, the court admitted as exhibit, a letter titled “Re- Investigation Activities” dated January 6, 2014 which the prosecution had sought to tender as evidence.
It would be recalled that the defense led by Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, at the last adjourned date, contested the admissibility of the document, saying the author of the document is an interested party in the case.
However, counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, argued that the document is admissible as the person tendering it has no personal or pecuniary interest in the case.
Justice Yusuf while ruling on the matter today held that the document does not violate the Evidence Act. He consequently admitted it as exhibit.
The case has been adjourned to Febuary 10 and 20, 2015 for continuation of trial.
EFCC Docks Man, Prison official for Employment Scam
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 arraigned one Michael Ogun popularly known as Idris Suleiman, before Justice Olubukola A. Adeniyi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court Apo, Abuja, for offences bordering on forgery.
The accused was alleged to have extorted money from members of the public on the pretence of offering them employment into the Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and other paramilitary agencies.
He is also being investigated in a suspected case of money laundering.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the 6-count charge preferred against him by the EFCC.
Count one reads: “that you Michael Ogun a.k.a Idris Suleiman sometime in March 2014 in Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of eight thousand five hundred naira (N8,500.00) from one Angela Chinwe Okeke through Access Bank account number: 0064938358 belonging to Idris Suleiman when you falsely represented yourself as capable of providing her with a job at the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section1(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section1(3) of the same Act”.
Based on the plea of the accused person, counsel to EFCC, Yetunde Alabi asked the court to fix a date for trial to commence.
However, counsel to the first accused, S.I Imoke urged the court to admit his client to bail. He stated that the accused person was ready to face trial and would not do anything to frustrate it.
Justice Adeniyi granted the accused bail in the sum of N2million (two million naira) and two sureties in like sum.
The case has been adjourned to February 18, 2015 for trial.
In a related development, an official of the Katsina State Command of the Nigerian Prison Service, Sani Usman Danbulbuli was on Tuesday December 9 arraigned by the EFCC before Justice Rilwanu Mohammed Aikawa of the Federal High Court Sitting in Sokoto, on a 5-count charge bordering on employment fraud and obtaining by false pretence.
The accused sometime in 2011 met one Usman Sani isah at Abuja and promised to help secure employment for him with the Nigerian Customs Service. Thereafter he collected various sums of money amounting to N400,000.00 (four hundred thousand Naira) which he claimed will be used to purchase Customs Training Kits and Uniforms.
But the employment neither materialise nor was he willing to refund the money collected from the victim.
The accused person pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Justice Aikawa however granted him bail in the sum of N500,000.00 and a surety in like sum who must be a civil servant not below grade level 8.
The case is adjourned to December 16, 2014 for trial.
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