By Francis IWUCHUKWU
Two middle-aged men were on Thursday arraigned before Justice Akintayo Aluko of a Lagos Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, for allegedly defrauding seven businessmen of a sum to the tune of N150 million.
The suspected fraudsters, Divine Nonso Chukwuma, Hameed Babaolobi and one Adio Moses said to be at large, were dragged before the court by the Police Special Fraud Unit, PSFU, Lagos.
They were specifically accused to have falsely posed as importers of computers, phones and their accessories to dupe their unsuspecting victims.
But the defendants pleaded not guilty to the eight counts charge when the same was read to them.
In the charge designated FHC/L/330c/2021, the PSFU alleged that the defendants alongside one Adio Moses Adedohun, said to be at large, had between March and August 2021, in Lagos State and Ilorin, Kwara State, conspired among themselves to commit a felony by obtaining the sum of N150 million each from Damilola Ajibike, Akinsanya Akinwale, John Bassey, Olubo Ayodeji, Uzoma Confidence Ogochukwu, Victor Abia Ekanem, Amole Damilola and others by false pretences through their FCMB account number 5359314018 and First Bank account number 3104626738 on the understanding that they are importers and distributors of mobile phones, accessories, computers and computers’ accessories and other related goods from the United States of America, USA, and that they will supply the said items within few weeks on the receipt of the money from their victims, a representation they knew to be false.
According to the PSFU, the offence is contrary to Section 1(1) (a) (b) and (c) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Relates Offences Act 2006, No. 14 of 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
But consequent upon the defendants’ not guilty plea position to the charge, the prosecutor, Chukwu Agwu prayed the judge to remand them at the Ikoyi Correctional Center of the Nigerian Correctional Services, NCoS, pending the hearing and determination of the charge. He further requested a trial date.
But, lawyer to the first defendant, Ngozi Akandu, while conceding to a trial date, told Justice Aluko that he has just been briefed about the matter and would be filing the bail application for the first defendant shortly, just as he appealed to the court for a short adjournment.
On his part, F. Aliyu, counsel to the second defendant told the court that he has filed a bail summons on behalf of his client and urged the court for a short adjournment.
In handing down his ruling, Justice Aluko ordered the remand of the defendants at the facility of the NCoS, Ikoyi and adjourned till February 19, 2022, for the hearing of the bail application of the second defendant and March 2, 2022, for the commencement of trial.
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