The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan Zonal Office has arraigned one Mary Akerele before Justice Abiodun Akinyemi of the Ogun State High Court 4, Abeokuta for stealing the sum of N35,520,000 (Thirty five million five hundred and twenty thousand naira).
Akerele was arraigned on a five-count-charge bordering on stealing.
Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity, indicated that trouble started for the 46-years-old socialite, who resides at Aseko area of Idiroko Ogun State, when the Commission received a petition, alleging that she collected the said sum in installments from one Alhaja Oladoja Abike to supply four truck-load of rice from a rice milling company in Bida, Niger State but diverted the funds.
One of the charges read, “That Mary Masirat Akerele (trading under the name and style of Goodness of Jesus Global Ventures) on or about the 19th day of September, 2018 at Abeokuta within the Abeokuta Judicial Division of the honourable court, fraudulently converted to your own use the sum of N11, 000,000.00 (Eleven million naira) only property of Fausia Abike Oladoja and thereby committed an offence of stealing contrary to Section 390 (9) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 30, laws of Ogun State, 2006.”
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to her.
Counsel to the defendant, H. A Omikunle, made an oral application for his client’s bail. However, Shamsuddeen Bashir, Counsel to EFCC, opposed the application on the grounds of the defendant’s failure to keep the terms of the administrative bail earlier granted her.
Justice Akinyemi adjourned the case till March 4 for determination of the bail application and ordered the remand of the defendant at the Correctional Centre in Ibara, Abeokuta.
Recall that a Federal High Court in Abeokuta, Ogun State recently convicted and sentenced two internet fraudsters, Ridwan Garuba and Agbabiaka Adebayo to five months and four months in prison respectively.
The convicts had pleaded guilty separately to the one-count charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan Zonal Office.
The charges bordering on fraud and impersonation against Garuba read, “That you, Ridwan Lekan Garuba, a.k.a. Jefferson Godwin, sometime in 2020, at Abeokuta, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, impersonated one Jefferson Godwin, citizen of the United States of America, by which you obtained benefits and gained advantage from one Ruth Hodges Dennis, a female citizen of the United States of America, a pretext which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(i) and punishable under Section 22(2)(b)(iv)of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.”
The charge against Agbabiaka read, “That you, Agbabiaka Idris Adebayo, a.k.a Melissa Brookrose, sometime between 2018 and 2020 at Sango Ota, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, impersonated one Charles Stewart, a citizen of the United States of America, by which you obtained benefits and gained advantage from one Christiana, a female citizen of the United States of America, a pretext which you know to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(i)of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2)(b)(iv) of the same Act.”
Uwujaren had said that counsel in the respective case, Shamsuddeen Bashir, urged the court to convict the duo accordingly.
Justice Mohammed Abubakar consequently convicted and sentenced Garuba to five months in prison with effect from the date of his arrest, while Agbaiaka bagged four months in prison also with effect from the date of his arrest.
Garuba, who has already refunded the sum of $1,000 USD (One thousand United States of America Dollars) to his victim through the Federal Government, also forfeited his Samsung S9 mobile phone, Samsung S6 mobile phone, one MIFI and one Nokia phone
Agbaiaka also forfeits his iPhone mobile phone to the Federal Government of Nigeria, being part of the benefit he derived from his fraudulent act.