Friday 28 November 2014

EFCC arrests 77-year-old woman over alleged N65million land fraud

An Ikeja High Court on Wednesday remanded a septuagenarian, Mulikat Shonekan, in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N65 million land fraud.

The 77-year-old woman, who was assisted physically into the dock for her arraignment, is to remain in custody pending the perfection of the N5 million bail granted to her by the court.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, the trial judge, also remanded her alleged accomplice, Martins Ogiogwa, 42; in Kirikiri Medium Prison, pending the perfection of his N10 million bail.

The defendants were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Mujekanm Petroleum Nigeria Company Ltd.

Shonekan lives at No. 9, Shonekan Close, Obantoko, Abeokuta while Ogiogwa gave his address as Block 26, Flat 8, LSPDC Estate, Ebute Meta, Lagos.

They are facing a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, stealing and issuance of dud cheques.

The EFCC counsel, Anslem Ozioko, said the defendants conspired to commit the offences between September 2008 and July 2011.

Ozioko said that they obtained N65 million from Danladi Verheijen, the Director of Kuta Stones Ltd, under the pretext of selling him 90 acres of land at Kemta Ososun Village, Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State.

According to him, after obtaining the money, the defendants failed to sell the property to the complainant and thereafter sold it to a third party.

Ozioko said that Shonekan also issued two GT Bank cheques in the sum of N5 million each, payable to Kuta Stones Ltd.

He said the cheques were dishonoured and returned unpaid due to insufficiency of funds in the account of the defendant.

According to him, their offences contravene Sections 8(a) and 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.

Ozioko said the offences also contravened Section 390 of the Criminal Code, Cap C17, Vol 2, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.

The prosecutor said that they also violated Section 1(1) of Dishonoured Cheque (Offences) Act, Cap D11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the offence of obtaining money by false pretences attracts a maximum of seven years imprisonment.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Following their arraignment, their counsel, Bamidele Ogundele and Austin Akpomreta, appealed to the court that they should be granted bail on liberal terms.

In her ruling, Ipaye granted Shonekan N5 million bail, with two sureties in like sum.

She also granted Ogiogwa bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties.

The judge said the sureties must be resident in Lagos State while one of them must be a blood relative.

According to her, all the sureties must produce evidence of payment of three years tax to the Lagos State Government.

Ipaye also ordered Ogiogwa to deposit his traveling documents in the custody of the Chief Registrar of the Lagos State High Court.

The matter was adjourned till Jan.23, 2015 for trial.

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