By Chibuike Osuji
Three people were recently found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money with false pretense by the a Lagos based Federal High court presided over by Honorable justice Ibrahim Buba . The Accused, three individuals, Umem Anita, Isa Hassan and Mfon Iniunam and two corporate organizations, Kafisto Oil and Gas Limited and M4 Connections Ltd. There various sentences range from ten years in prison to the refund of one million US dollars.
Trouble started in 2014 when Dashad Bureau de Change, a parallel market licensed operator, was approached by the suspects on a business transaction. They intimated the company that they have Dollars to sell, and that the dollars are ready to be delivered once the Naira equivalent is released. The Managing Director of Dashad, one Alhaji Tayo, was taken in by the scam, and proceeded to pay about N800 million, a dollar equivalence of $1.5 million (one million, five hundred thousand Dollars only) at the then prevailing exchange rate. But investigations indicated that the accused +were falsely claiming to have the dollar equivalent, but have nothing of such. Instead, they were out into the black market to buy the dollar. They were, however, able only to secure one third of the dollar equivalent. They paid Dashab Bureau de Change $500,000 (Five hundred thousand dollars only) and have reneged in the payment of the balance of $1 million (one million dollars only).
The case came to the attention of the special fraud unit and they swung into action, arresting the culprits. After investigations, they were charged to court for conspiracy and obtaining the money via false pretenses. The charge was constituted as charge number FHC/L/331c/2015.
After three years of legal battle with CSP Emmanuel Jackson prosecuting at the Lagos Court,, the first defendant, Umen Anita, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment without option of fine; Isa Hassan, 7 years imprisonment without option of fine; Mfon Iniuam, 7 years imprisonment without option of fine. Umen was asked to refund $1 million dollars, and the two companies are to be wound up and assets forfeited to the Federal government in accordance with sections 1(3) and 10(2) of Advance Fee fraud and other fraud related Offenses act 2006.