EFCC: Court convicts fraudster who cloned phone, adjourns $328,974.37 fraud trial to May 5

WorldStage Newsonline– Justice D.Z. Senchi of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Jabi has found Usman Baba Yusuf (a.k.a Usman Dakingari) guilty of his involvement in the cloning of the phone number of Abdulmumini Bako, a former Special Assistant to the former Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko Inde, and sentenced him to 12 months in prison.

The convict, an indigene of Kebbi State and a businessman had pleaded “guilty” when he was arraigned by the EFCC on March 29, 2018 to a four-count amended charge of cheating, impersonation and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N2 million.

Yusuf, who was being charged along with Balarabe Abdullahi had initially absconded, but was later arrested by EFCC operatives who found him in his hideout and brought him to court. He was alleged to have connived with Abdullahi to defraud a Customs officer. Abdullahi, however, maintained his “not guilty” plea.

Based on Yusuf’s “guilty” plea, which was part of a plea bargain he entered in with the prosecution, Justice Senchi, noted that he had no record of conviction and “seems to have shown remorse”. The trial judge, thereafter, sentenced him to 12 months in prison with an option of N200,000 fine.

Meanwhile, the trial of his accomplice, Abdullahi, who has since remained in prison custody for his inability to perfect his bail conditions, continues on May 7, 2018.

In another development, Justice U.P. Kekemeke of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Apo, has adjourned the trial of a businessman, Ighodaro Austin Osaretin, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for a $328,974.37 fraud, to May 5, 2018.

Osaretin allegedly duped innocent Nigerians in a fake business deal that happened between March and November 2015. He placed an advertisement on www.unaedi.org.ng supposedly belonging to Universal Agricultural Empowerment and Development Initiative, using same to swindle prospective investors, into parting with over $328,974.37 under the pretence that his organization specialized in marketing goods and services globally.

He was first arraigned on April 9, 2018 on a one-count charge of fraud.

The count reads: “That you Ighodaro Austin Osaretin sometime between March 13, 2015 to November 9, 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of $328,974.37 from several customers across the globe through the advert you placed on www.unaedi.org.ng”.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charge when it was read to him.

Subsequently, Justice Kekemeke fixed April 16, 2018 to hear his bail application. He was granted bail in the sum of N10 million and two sureties in like some, who must not be below the position of an assistant director in the Federal Civil Service, and who must possess landed properties.

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