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EFCC arraigns Kaduna businessmen for N6m land fraud

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned one Magaji Mijinyawa and Shehu Mahamoud before Justice Darius Khobo of the State High Court sitting in Kaduna on a four-count charge bordering on fraud and obtaining money by false pretence.

A statement by Tony Orilade, acting Spokesperson of EFCC on Wednesday disclosed that both Mijinyawa and Mahmoud in June 2017 obtained, under false pretence the sum of N6,227,000 from one Aliyu Mohammed Gusau for the sale of three plots of land at Rigachikun, Kaduna.

Orilade said while the court found their claim to be false, they have committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Fraud Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

Gusau who petitioned the two businessmen at EFCC said, he later found out after the commencement of construction work on the said land, that it belonged to the state government, and had been set aside for the construction of a primary school.

While paraded in court, both Minjiyawa and Mahmoud pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Following their plea, counsel for the Commission P.C.Onyeneho, urged the court to fix a date for commencement of trial, and to remand them in prison.

Defence counsel, M.I. Ashir, however, prayed the court to grant his clients bail.

Justice Khobo in his ruling granted them bail in the sum of N2million and one surety each, who must have a landed property with Certificate of Occupancy, which must be verified by the court and the EFCC.

The case has been adjourned to October 22, 2019 for trial.

In a related development, the EFCC also presented two witnesses against one Abayomi Oke who is being prosecuted on a one-count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheque before Justice Khobo of the Kaduna State High Court.

The first prosecution witness, Ishaq Danjuma, an operative with the Commission, while being led in evidence by counsel for the EFCC, M. Lawal stated that:

“I know the defendant in a case I personally investigated through a petition received by the Kaduna zonal office of the EFCC written by one Abdullahi Zubairu on the 8th of January, 2017 on issuance of dud cheque valued at N7.2million.”

He also told the court that about N2million was recovered from the defendant and released to the complainant, noting that it was part of the money ought to have been covered by the cheque.

Testifying as the second prosecution witness, Ruth Ayuba, a relationship manager with UBA, Ahmadu Bello Way branch, Kaduna told the court that the EFCC wrote to the bank requesting to know why a cheque issued by the defendant was dishonored upon presentation.

“The bank dishonored the cheque, because the account was dormant and had insufficient funds at the time of presentation,” Ayuba said.

She further stated that the cheque was a third party one and needed to be cleared.

“The clearing centre returned the cheque saying the account was dormant,” she added.

Justice Khobo, thereafter, adjourned the case to October 22, 2019, for the continuation of trial.

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