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Court Jails Businessman for N30m Fraud, Arraigns Another for N3m Fraud

Justice Fadawu Umar of the Borno State High Court, Maiduguri on July 25, 2019 sentenced one Usman Idris alongside his company, Influential Investment Limited to one year in prison on each of the three-count amended charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Count one of the charges reads: “That you, Usman Ibrahim Idris, being a Managing Director and alter ego of Influential Investment Company Limited, a company registered in Nigeria, sometime between 6th May and 6th October, 2015 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did dishonestly misappropriate the sum of N15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million Naira) being investment of Abubakar Mallam Baba in Investment Company Limited for telecommunication business, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 308 of the Penal Code Act Ca. 102 Laws of the Borno State of Nigeria and punishable under section 309 of the same Law.”

He was arraigned along with his company on April 15, 2019 for criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N30,000,000 and pleaded “not guilty”.

In the course of the trial, counsel for the EFCC, Benjamin Manji presented three witnesses and tendered three exhibits, which forced Idris and his company to enter into a plea bargain agreement with the EFCC prompting him to change to a guilty plea.

Subsequently, the prosecution substituted the initial two-count charge with an amended three-count charge, dated and filed on July 17, 2019 to which Idris and Influential Investment Company Limited pleaded “guilty”.

Justice Umar, thus convicted him accordingly and adjourned for sentencing.

Delivering judgement, the trial judge, held that: “On count one, you are hereby sentenced to one year imprisonment with an option of fine in the sum of N200,000.

“On count two, you are hereby sentenced to one year imprisonment with an option of N500,000.
“On count three you are hereby sentenced to one year imprisonment with an option of N300,000.
“Equally, the company Influential Investment Limited Company is hereby fine the sum of N200,000 on each of the three counts charge.”

In a related development, the EFCC arraigned Tijjani Hamidu before Justice Umar on a three-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence and forgery to the tune of N3,350,000.

Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Alhaji Tijjai Hamidu, being a businessman, sometimes in 2017 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the Jurisdiction of the Honourable Court, with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N3,350,000 (Three Million, Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) only vide cash payment under the false pretence of selling Plot No. 136 on BOTP/122, measuring, 1,200 square meters situates at Gumbole Road extension, Maiduguri, dated 24th October 2013, to Alhaji Modu Kolo, which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Punishable under Section 1(30 of the same Act.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the counts.

Counsel for the EFCC, Mukhtar Ahmad, thereafter prayed for a trial date in order for the prosecution to prove its case against the defendant.

While adjourning the matter to August 5, 2019 Justice Umar ordered that he should be remanded in prison.

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