A High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has sentenced one Batholomew Tumbu Formanka to 12 months imprisonment for making a false statement to obtain a Nigerian Passport.
Formanka, a Cameroonian, was arrested in Lagos sometime in 2013 during the investigation of the very first visa scam case, after evading arrest on several occasions and has been in prison custody since November of the same year.
He was first arraigned before Justice Ishaq Bello of the FCT High Court in November 2013, but the case was later re-assigned to Justice D. Senchi when Justice Bello was assigned a national assignment.
The accused person had initially pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge levelled against him but on Thursday changed his plea to guilty and was convicted accordingly after making a plea of allocutus.
Investigations by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC, revealed that Formanka is a participant in the visa scam syndicate and efforts made to track him down through a bank account through which monies were paid for note verbales revealed that he opened the account using a Nigerian passport.
However, while he was being questioned, he admitted he was not Nigerian but a Cameroonian and that he had obtained the passport by falsely claiming to be a Nigerian from Cross Rivers State. One Etim Effiong now at large helped him obtain the passport.
He was thereafter charged for conspiracy to make a false statement and making a false statement to a public officer under section 25 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000.
The accused person raised several preliminary objections that were considered and dismissed for lack of merit.