BY INUSA NDAHI, MAIDUGURI
The Maiduguri Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, July 2, 2020, secured the conviction of one Lawan Zanna Ajimi before Justice Aisha Kumaliya of Borno State High Court.
He was prosecuted on one-count charge of cheating to the tune of N1,250,000.00 (One Million Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira).
The EFCC was able to establish that the convict lured his victim into giving him a Honda Accord 2005 Saloon car in exchange for a plot of land which he fraudulently claimed was his.
The charge read: “That you, Lawan Zanna Ajimi sometime in 2014 at Maiduguri Borno State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court dishonestly induced one Ba’ari Baba Ali Ajayi to deliver to you a Honda Accord Saloon car valued at the sum of N1,250,000.00 (One Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira only) that the said car would be used for the exchange of a plot of land and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Sections 320 (a) and 322 of the Penal Code Laws of Borno State Cap. 102 Vol. 3 of 1994 respectively.”
He pleaded guilty to the charge upon arraignment, prompting prosecution counsel, Khalid Sanusi to ask the court to convict and sentence him.
Justice Kumaliya convicted and sentenced him to six months in prison or pay N100, 000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) as fine.
In another development, one Allen Abel was convicted by Justice Kumaliya but reserved his sentence till August 10. Abel was prosecuted on a 20-count charge by the Commission’s Maiduguri Office for offences that border on forgery, possession of false documents, impersonation and obtaining by false pretence, food items valued at N12, 879,800.00 (Twelve Million Eight Hundred and Seventy Nine Thousand Eight Hundred Naira).
He was arraigned alongside Suleiman Adamu, Usman Adamu and Kingsley Madubuagu for conspiracy having fraudulently awarded a contract for the supply of food items in the name of Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD), under the Special Intervention Programme (SIP) for the Federal Government’s School Feeding Programme to their victim.
Count three of the charge read: “That you, Allen Abel, Suleiman Adamu and Usman Adamu sometime between February and March, 2020 at Maiduguri, Borno State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud obtained 1313 (One Thousand Three Hundred and Thirteen) cartons of spaghetti and 480 (Four Hundred Eighty) bags of rice both worth N12, 110,000.00 (Twelve Million One Hundred Ten Thousand Naira) only from one Lelle Hyelwa Sini of Lelle Foresight Construction Co. Ltd. under the false pretence of executing a contract of supply of food item, purportedly awarded by Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development (Federal Government School Feeding Programme), under the Special Intervention Programme (SIP), 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.”
Abel, who is the first defendant in the matter, pleaded guilty to all the charges, while his co-defendants pleaded not guilty.
Following his plea, prosecution counsel, Benjamin Manji prayed the court to convict him as charged and similarly urged the court to fix a trial date for the other defendants.
While defence counsel, A. M Audu pleaded for leniency, Justice Kumaliya convicted Abel as charged and adjourned the matter till August 10, 2020 for sentence and August 11, 12, and 13 , 2020 for commencement of trial. He ordered the remand of both the convict and the defendants in the Nigeria Correctional Centre.