N72m fraud: Court fixes businesswoman, 5 others’ trial for Jan. 21

The trial of a businesswoman, Mrs. Chinweze Adaga and five others who were charged before a Federal High Court, Lagos, on alleged N72 million fraud, has been adjourned till January 21, 2019.

The adjournment of the trial of the fraud suspects was sequel to the absence of the presiding judge, Justice (Professor) Chuka Obiozor, who is said to be on official duty outside the court’s jurisdiction.

Consequently the suspects’ trial was fixed for January 21, 2019, upon the agreement of the prosecution and their lawyers.

The businessman, Adaga is been charged before the court alongside Adekunle Ademola, 56, Kupoluyi Adesina, 38, Remi Yusuf, 32, Tessy Olalekan and Yemi Morolani.
 
They were alleged to have defrauded a Bureau De Change (BDC) Operator, Murtala Haruna Usman of the sum of N72 million, under the false pretence of exchanging the money to $200, 000 US Dollars.

The police from Abuja’ department of Forces Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), had arraigned the all the defendants sometimes in July, before Justice Hassan Sule led-court on a nine-count charge, bordering on conspiracy, obtaining under false pretence, false representation, unlawful conversion, fraud, intent to cheat and false information.

Arraigning the defendants, the prosecutor,  Usman Jibrin, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), had informed the court that the accused persons and others now at large, committed the offence on June 1, 2018, at 22, Olabisi Street, off Association Avenue, Shangisha Lagos.

The police in a charge numbered FHC/L/256c/2018, alleged that the first accused, Chinweze Agada, who operate with a company named Agiers Energy Company Limited, who is the brain behind the fraud, gave her Access Bank account number 0059808015, where Usman paid the N75 million. And that a bid to perfect the fraud, introduced one Hassan Adamu, (now at large) as her staff in her firm named Agiers Energy Company Limited, to the fraud victim, Usman,

The police had also alleged that the businesswoman, in a bid to cover up the fraud, through her lawyers in the law firm of Raw Law Solicitors, wrote a petition to the Police headquarters at Abuja, wherein she alleged the the fraud victim, Usman  is members of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist, which led to his arrest and prosecution by Federal Special Armed Robbery Squad (FSARS).

Also, all the accused persons were allege to have refused to handover the US Dollars equivalent of the N72 million paid by Usman into Agada’s Access bank Plc account.

The prosecutor, ACP Jibrin, had told the court that the actions of the accused, contravened Sections 1 (1) (a-c) and (2), and punishable under section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related offences Act 2006. 

Jibrin also to the court that accused’s action is contrary to sections 125 and 385 of Criminal Code Law of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, and punishable under section 390(2) of the same Act.

They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge. And they have all admitted to bail by Justice Obiozor on August 23, in the sum of N60 million with one surety each.

Justice Obiozor had also ordered that the surety to-be to the businesswoman, could be a landed property owner within the court’s jurisdiction or a Director with the civil service of Lagos state of Federal government. Adding that the sureties to all accused persons must have paid three years tax, and have their addresses and means of livelihood, alongside two recent passport photographs submitted to court and verified by the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR).

Alternatively, Justice Obiozor ordered that counsel to businesswoman, Agada, if wish to stand as her surety, must submit to court his Call-to-Bar certificate and a bank Bond of N70 million.

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