Justice Olatunde H. Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has convicted and sentenced one Obasemola Samuel to one year imprisonment for over N30 million fraud.
The convict was first arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on October 16, 2017 on an 18-count charge bordering on forgery, impersonation, use of false document, stealing and inducing delivery of money by false pretence, to which he pleaded “not guilty”.
He was later re-arraigned on amended one-count charge of forgery on September 10, 2020.
Samuel’s travail began, following a petition received by the Commission from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, about his fraudulent activities.
The NSE, in the petition, stated that Samuel, who acted as an impostor, had sold several units of shares worth N30.051 million belonging to one Ayoola Oduntan and subsequently opened an account in that name with First Bank Plc, where he deposited the money.
Until he was arrested by operatives of the Commission, he had withdrawn the sum of N800,000 via an Automated Teller Machine, ATM, as well as a Point of Sales, POS, device out of the sum of money, leaving the balance of N29.250 million in the account.
During the trial, which commenced on March 6, 2018, the prosecution counsel, Ebuka Okongwu, presented three witnesses namely: Augustine Ofonagoro, Dr Ayoola Oduntan and Abdullahi Tukur Doro.
In his evidence-in-chief, Doro, who was the third prosecution witness, PW3, tendered some documents, including copies of EFCC’S letters dated March 17, 2016; 21 March, 2016; May 22, 2017 and May 2, 2017, which were all admitted by the court as exhibits M-14, among others.
However, when PW3 sought to tender some documents, including the extra-judicial statement of the defendant, the defence opposed their admissibility under Section 29 of the Evidence Act, thereby necessitating a trial-within-trial.
Subsequently, the defendant entered a plea bargain with the Commission on June 28, 2020.
In view of this, the prosecution reviewed the facts of the matter and subsequently charged him with one- count of forgery, to which he pleaded “guilty”, on September 10, 2020.
The prosecution, therefore, prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendant accordingly.
Delivering his judgement recently, Justice Oshodi convicted and sentenced the defendant to one year imprisonment commencing from October 8, 2020, without an option of fine.
The Judge also ordered the defendant to forfeit to the nominal complainant, Oduntan, the sum of N29.250 million being the balance of the money in his First Bank account number 2024935463.