Criminal Law

Court jails man for Hajj scam, two others for fraud in Maiduguri

The Maiduguri Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, March 10, 2022, secured the conviction and sentencing of one Bashir Goni Ali before Justice Umaru Fadawu of Borno State High Court, Maiduguri on a one-count charge bordering on cheating to the tune of N1.2 million.

The defendant was arraigned alongside his company, Bash Trust and Travel Agency Nigeria Limited, for fraudulently collecting the said sum from one Rabi Ismail Mamza and her mother on the pretext of facilitating a travel document for the duo to perform the 2015 Lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

The count reads: “That you Bashir Goni Ali, whilst being the Executive Officer of Bash Trust and Travel Agency Nigeria Limited, a company registered in Nigeria sometime in February 2015 in Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court fraudulently induced one Rabi Isma’il Hamza by deceiving her to deliver the total sum of One Million Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N1,200,000.00) being money for travel and performance of lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 320 of Penal Code law Cap 102, Laws of Borno State and punishable under section 322 of the same law”.

The defendant pleaded ‘guilty’ to the charge when it was read to him.

Counsel for the prosecution, Alqasim Jafar led an operative of the EFCC, Ario Mojeed Olugbenga, to review the facts of the case. Jafar urged the court to convict the defendant as charged.

Based on the guilty plea entered by the defendant and the testimony of PW1, Justice Fadawu convicted and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment with an option of N100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira ) fine, while his company, Bash Trust and Travel Agency Nigeria Limited, was sentenced to a fine of N100, 000.00(One Hundred Thousand Naira only).

In another development, the Maiduguri Zonal Command also secured the conviction of one Isaac Harami Ndahi before Justice Fadawu on a one-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N3,000,000.00 (Three Million Naira).

The defendant allegedly used a fake ‘‘Purchase Order’’ purported to have emanated from Danish Counsel (DRC), to obtain N3m from one Engr. Abba Aji Monguno with a promise to share the accrued profit.

The count read: “That you, Isaac Harami Ndahi sometime in September 2019 in Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court fraudulently induced one Engr. Abba Aji Monguno to deliver to you the sum of Three Million Naira (N3, 000,000.00)  only using a fake purchase order purported to have emanated from Danish Counsel (DRC) under the false pretence that you had a contract to execute and accrued profit would be shared between the two of you which fact you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under sections 1(1) (b) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”

The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge preferred against him by the EFCC, setting the stage for his full trial during which the prosecution counsel, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, presented three witnesses and tendered several documents as exhibits before the court.

Delivering judgment, Justice Fadawu said the prosecution haproven its case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubtand thereby convicted and sentenced Ndahi to seven years imprisonment.

Also,  Justice  Fadawu today, March 10, 2022, convicted and sentenced a serial fraudster, one Bulama Bukar to eight years imprisonment on a one-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N600,000.

Bulama’s journey to the prison started when the EFCC received a petition alleging that sometime in 2013, he sold government plots of land to Babagana Alhaji Fantami and Hajja Rukayya Alhaji.

The count read: “That you Bulama Bukar sometime in March 2019 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction Honourable Court, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N600,00.00 (Six Hundred Thousand Naira) only, from Babagana Alhaji Fantami and Hajja Rukayya Alhaji under the false pretence that the said sum represent payment for the purchase of land situate at Moronti (Auno District) Konduga Local Government Area, which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act”.

The defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charge. In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, presented three witnesses and tendered several documents in evidence.

Delivering judgment, Justice Fadawu held that the prosecution had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, convicted and sentenced the defendant to eight years imprisonment.

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