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Promoting Good Governance.

Two suspected fraudsters arraigned by EFCC in Benin

IN different court proceedings, two suspected fraudsters, Omoparewa Femi and Bashir Munkaila, have been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for defrauding victims to the tune of over N6 million.

The commission disclosed this through a press release made available to journalists on Thursday. The release was signed by Tony Orilade, the EFCC’s Acting Head of Media and Publicity.

While his accomplice is still at large, Femi was arraigned on Wednesday before Justice A.A. Demi-Ajayi of the Federal High Court, in Edo State. Four counts bordering on obtaining money by false pretence were preferred against him, to which he pleaded not guilty. He allegedly received over N1 million from Ufuoma under the pretense of getting a visa.

“That you, Omoparewa Femi and one Prince Chikita (still at large),” read one of the charges, “on or about the 14th day of June 2017, at Benin within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did with intent to defraud, obtain the sum N500,000 from Ikporo Ufuoma through your bank account domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank, under a false pretence that you are a registered visa procurement agent and the money was meant for Canadian Visa to Mr Ikporo Ufuoma, a pretext which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the advance fee Fraud and other fraud-related offences Act , 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”

Austin Ozigbo, EFCC’s counsel, asked the court to schedule a trial date and order for the defendant’s remand; while Solomon Akpobosa, the lawyer representing Femi, filed an application for bail. To this Ozigbo reacted that he needed time to assess the application as he had just been served.

The case was adjourned to September 25 for hearing and the judge ordered for the defendant’s remand in prison.

Muknaila was also arraigned before the court on Wednesday on a one-count charge of obtaining by false pretence.

“That you, Bashir Munkaila,” the charge read, “being a bureau de change operator on or about the 8th day of May 2018 in Benin, Edo State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court with intent to defraud, did obtain from Adamu Haruna the sum of £13,000 (N5.3 million) under the false pretence that there was a customer in your shop who needed £16,000 at N430 per Euro, a representation which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”

The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge and Ozigbo asked the court to convict and sentence him based on a plea bargain agreement earlier reached.

The case was also adjourned to September 25 to allow for the review of the facts, and Munkaila was ordered to be remanded in prison pending the next trial date.

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