The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on January 22, 2019 arraigned Sirajo Musa Bakoji before Justice M.A. Nasir of the FCT High Court, Jabi on a two-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of £19,000, and for yet another N25 million fraud charge before Justice Yusuf Halilu of a High Court of the FCT in Maitama.
He allegedly received the monies under the guise of being a Bureau de Change operator, convincing his victims that he would convert the monies to other currencies, as requested, and remit equivalents of the same to them.
After receiving the funds, however, he became incommunicado.
Operatives of the EFCC eventually apprehended him at a bank in Mubi, Adamawa State.
Count one of the charges before Justice Nasir reads: “That you, Sirajo Musa Bakoji, Alhaji M. R. Musa (now at large) and Mary Musa (now at large), sometime in September 2015, at Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja did conspire to do an illegal act to wit: obtaining money by false pretence from one Umar Yakubu Turare and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.
The charge before Justice Halilu reads: “That you, Sirajo Musa Bakoji, on or about 9th of January, 2016 in Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did dishonestly convert the sum of N25,467,410 (Twenty Five Million, Four Hundred and Sixty Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Ten Naira) only to your own use which sum was entrusted to you by one Alhaji Hassan Gambo to convert to United States Dollars and you thereby committed criminal breach of trust in respect of he said sum contrary to section 311 of the Penal Code Laws of the Federation (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under section 312 of the same Act”.
Upon arraignment before both judges, he pleaded “not guilty”, when the charges were read to him, with the help of Hausa interpreters.
In view of the plea of the defendant, prosecuting counsel, Maryam Ahmed, applied that the defendant be remanded in prison custody subject to the determination of bail application filed by the defence on January 18, 2019 and served on the prosecution on January 22, 2019.
Counsel for the defendant, Francis Adejo, requested for leave of court to move the bail application of his client.
Justice Nasir, however, ruled that the application was not ripe for hearing and ordered that he should be remanded in prison till February 5, 2018 when the Court will hear his bail application.
Before Justice Halilu, however, the prosecuting counsel, Farouk Abdallah, applied for an adjournment pending the defence’s application for bail.
Sirajo’s counsel, M.S. Saida Abimbola, then sought leave of court to make an oral application for bail, at which point, Abdallah informed the court that Justice Nasir had already ordered that he should be remanded in prison.
Thereafter, Justice Halilu adjourned the matter to February 12, 2019 for the prosecution to open its case. He urged the defence to make a formal application for bail and also ordered that Sirajo should be remanded in prison pending his bail application.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
23rd January, 2019