N313.2M Fraud: Court Adjourns Arraignment Of PDP House Of Reps Candidate, Others Till Jan. 22

* Pix source : Independent Newspapers Nigeria



A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned the rearrangement of a candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the House of Representative in the 2019 general election, Honourable Anthony Alaka, (a.k.a General) till January 22, 2019.

Other defendants to be re-arraigned alongside Akala in the alleged N313.2 million fraud are; Saidi Oke, Bashir Mohammed: and Alhaji Umar Ali.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, the prosecutor Dr. A. U. Imam told Justice N.Ayoola Emmanuel that the matter would have to start denovo (afresh) following the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Hadizat Shagari to the Katsina division of the court.

He then pleaded with the court for a trial date. However, a mild drama ensued before the judge could adjourn the matter, as Mr. Oniovughe Okotiebor, one of the sureties to the fourth defendants, Mr Bashir Mohammed told the court of his intention to withdraw his suretyship

Justice Ayoola Emmanuel in his ruling said: “since the act of suretyship is a free act by the person involved, the surety is hereby discharged.”

Justice Ayoola Emmanuel also directed the defendant to continue on the bail earlier granted to him but directed him to produce another surety by the next adjourn date.

He consequently adjourned the matter till January 22, 2019 for the rearrangement of the defendants.

It would be recalled that after several attempts by the Police to arraign eight persons and two companies over alleged N313.2 million fraud, four suspects involved in the alleged fraud were finally arraigned on October 17, 2017 before Justice Hadizat  Rabiu Shagari of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on charges bordering on conspiracy and fraud.

Those arraigned before the court presided over by Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari are: Honourable Anthony Alaka, a.k.a General: Saidi Oke: Bashir Mohammed: and Alhaji Umar Ali.

At the two occasions that the matter came up for arraignment of the suspects, the police informed the court that other members of the fraud syndicate who were earlier granted administrative bail have failed to report back to the police.

Those alleged to have been elusive after granted police’s administrative bail are: Dr. Chukwuemeka Cyraicus Anyanwu Anyanwu, 50: Agboola Rasheed Gbade, 67: Nkechi Nwafor, 43: and Larry Balogun Otunba, 51.

Others are two firms: Grantland Investment Nigeria Limited and Abroad Development Foundation.

Following the failure of the police to produce the elusive members of the syndicate, Justice Shagari ordered the police to severe the charge for possible arraignment of the four members of the syndicate that have been in police custody for over four months.

Consequently, Anthony Akala, a.k.a. General: Umar Ali: Saidi Oke and Bashir Mohammed were arraigned on two counts charge bordering on conspiracy to wit: fraud and obtaining money under false pretence.

The police in the amended charge marked FHC/L/327c/2017, alleged that the four suspects and others now at large, had on June 15, 2017, at Lekki area of Lagos State, conspired among themselves to obtain the sum of N312.2 million part of N359 million, from one Austin  Albert, under false pretence of selling to the complainant the sum of $1 million USD.

The police also alleged that the four defendants after fraudulently receiving the money from the victim, converted same to their personal use.

The offences according to the former prosecutor, Moroof Animashaun are contrary to sections 8(b) and 1(3) and punishable under sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.

All the accused however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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