The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Wednesday, arraigned one Vincent Bulus Venman before Justice A. O Adeniyi of the FCT High Court, Apo on a 6 count charge bordering on impersonation and obtaining money under false pretence.
The suspect was alleged to have been parading himself as Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun, former governor of Plateau State and in that capacity defrauded his victim of several millions of naira on the pretence of assisting him to get a ministerial appointment.
One of the charges reads; ‘That you, VINCENT BULUS VENMAN that on or about 7th day of May, 2013 in Abuja within the Jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, did with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N1,000,000.00 (One million naira) from one Bukar Abba through Account No: 3067756581 domiciled at First Bank of Nigeria Plc in the name of Venman Vincent Bulus under the false pretence that you are Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun, former governor of Plateau State and that the said sum will be used to facilitate his nomination and appointment as a Minister by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which you knew is false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1 (3) of the same Act’.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Counsel to EFCC, Takon. N Ndifon urged the court to remand the accused in prison custody while asking for a date to open the case. Reacting, counsel to the accused, Ify Ikeatuegwu through a formal application prayed the court to admit her client to bail assuring that the accused is prepared to make himself available for trial.
However, the prosecution counsel objected on the ground that he was served with the motion just this morning and urged the court to give him time to equally respond to the application formally.
Justice Adeniyi after listening to both counsel ordered that the accused be remanded in EFCC custody and adjourned the matter to September 30, 2013 for hearing of the bail application.
The suspect was arrested following a complaint by Bukar Abba, Acting Director, Account, EFCC. The complainant stated that sometime in April, 2013, he received a telephone call from someone claiming to be Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun, former governor of Plateau State and a close ally of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He said the caller addressed him as Senator Bukkar Abba Ibrahim but he told him he was not the one and that they only share a common name.
The complainant further stated that, the suspect in the same way contacted the real Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun and other prominent citizens of this country including Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, Reuben Abati (S.A Media to the President), Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako of Sokoto State,Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State before the law caught up with him .
Investigation by operatives of the Commission revealed that the accused had already defrauded Senator Bukar Abba to the tune of N5million (Five Million Naira.)