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N19million Scam: Court grants bail to fake Customs agents

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….EFCC Arraigns Suspected Visa Racketeer

TUE, MARCH 19 2019-theG&BJournal- Justice Saleh Idrissa of a Federal High Court, sitting in Sokoto, Sokoto State, on Monday 18 March, 2019, granted bail to four suspected fake Customs agents facing trial on a nine-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N19, 000,000 (Nineteen Million Naira).

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Sokoto zonal office had on Friday, 15 March, 2019, arraigned the defendants: Jabir Ladan Sani, Alh Sani Musa, Kabiru Musa and Aliyu Muhammad and others now at large before Justice Idrissa, on a nine-count charge bordering on Conspiracy and Obtaining Money by False Pretence.

The defendants got into trouble when they allegedly collected the sum of N19 million from one Abdulrazak Murtala on the pretext of facilitating the release of his goods seized by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and upon the payment of the money, his goods were neither release nor his money returned.

Count one of the charges read: “That you Jabir Ladan Sani, Alh Sani Musa, Kabiru Musa and Aliyu Muhammad and others now at large  sometimes within the months of July and September, 2018 at Sokoto  within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria,  did conspired among yourselves to  commit an unlawful act to wit: Obtaining the sum of N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira) from one Abdulrazaq Murtala by False Pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 (a) and Prohibition under section 1 (3) of Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related offences Act, 2006”.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when it was read to them.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, 18, 2019, counsel to the defendants, Nasiru Shehu Na’ige, told the court that he had earlier filed a bail application for his clients. He said the alleged offences were bailable and urged the court to grant his prayers.

However, the prosecution counsel, Muhammad Gambo did not oppose his prayers.

Delivering his ruling on bail application, Justice Idrissa, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N3, 000.000 (Three Million Naira only), each with two sureties in like sum.

The Judge ruled that the sureties must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court adding that one of the sureties must be a civil servant not below grade level 14 of the Federal or state civil service, while the second surety must have a landed property worth N3 million within the jurisdiction of the court.

He also stated that the two sureties must depose an affidavit of means with their recent passport photographs and those sureties must be verified by the prosecution and the court registrar.

The Judge adjourned the matter to April 9 and 10, 2019 for trial and ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office on Monday, March 18, 2019, arraigned one suspected visa racketeer, Yomi Samson (aka Becky Wellington) before Hon. Justice Joyce Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court 2, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The suspect, and also known as Amanda Luccero, an alleged visa racketeer, was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on possession of false documents, obtaining under false pretences and misleading an officer of the EFCC.

One of the count charge against him reads: “That you Yomi Samson (a.k.a Becky Wellinghton, a.k.a Amanda Luccero), sometimes in 2019, at Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to mislead, knowingly made false statement, wherein you lied to an officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission about your true age and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 39(2) (a) and punishable under Section 39 (2) (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004”.

Another reads: “That you Yomi Samson (a.k.a Becky Wellinghton, a.k.a Amanda Luccero) sometimes in 2019, at Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained a total sum of N45,000 (Forty-Five Thousand Naira) from one Chris when you falsely represented to him that the money was for Visa Clarifications, and other pretences, which representations you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006”.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the three counts.

In view of his plea, the EFCC’s counsel, Shamsudden Bashir, applied for trial date and prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody.

However, counsel to the defendant, Kehinde Olawumi, told the court that his client has the intention of going into a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution and may not go into full trial.

After listening to both counsels, Justice Abdulmalik adjourned the case to March 25, 2019, for hearing of plea bargain and thereafter ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison pending the determination of his case.

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