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Woman jailed 24 years for N40m property fraud in Abuja

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A federal high court sitting in Abuja has sentenced one Mercy Yusuf to 24 years in prison for $298,000, ₦40 million property fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), In a statement, said Yusuf and her company, T.M Properties Limited, were arraigned on a four-count charge that bordered on obtaining money by false pretence, forgery, and using false documents as genuine.

The anti-graft agency said Yusuf fraudulently obtained the sum of $298,000 and ₦40 million from Bacab Properties Limited under the false pretence that she was the beneficial owner of Plot 1721, Jahi District Cadastral Zone B08, Abuja.

However, Yusuf pleaded not guilty to the charges, prompting the commencement of trial.

“In the course of the trial which commenced on February 1, 2022, the prosecution called six witnesses and tendered 14 documents that were admitted in evidence as exhibits. At the close of the prosecution’s case, the defendants opened their defence on November 1, 2022, with the first defendant testifying on behalf of herself and the 2nd defendant,” the statement issued by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesperson, reads.

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“The Final written addresses were adopted by the prosecution and defence on March 6, 2023 and the matter was adjourned to March 7, 2023 for judgment.

“Delivering Judgment on Tuesday, March 7, Justice Okpe held that the prosecution had proved the case against the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt. The court, therefore, convicted the defendants on all the counts and sentenced them to 10 years imprisonment on counts one and two, and 2 years imprisonment on counts three and four.

“The sentences are, however, to run concurrently.”

The court further ordered Yusuf to make restitution in the sum of $298,000 and ₦41 million to the nominal complainant.

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Court orders final forfeiture of over N12.18bn choice properties linked to Emefiele

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government properties valued at over N11.14bn and another N1.04 billion linked to the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.

 

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke made the order of permanent forfeiture after hearing an application filed and argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through its counsel Chineye Okezie.

 

On June 5, 2024, The judge had upheld the anti-graft agency’s motion filed and argued by its counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo for a temporary forfeiture of the properties.

 

Oyedepo informed the court that Emefiele was suspected of having bought the choice properties by proxy, with the proceeds of fraud.

 

The EFCC named two current and one former CBN staff as Emefiele’s accomplices in the alleged fraud.

The trio, according to the affidavit filed in support of the application, are Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo working with Olubunmi Makinde a former CBN staff and others.

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The properties are mostly located in highbrow parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

 

Justice Aneke ordered the EFCC to publish the order for interim forfeiture in a national newspaper for any interested party to show cause why the final order of forfeiture should not be made.

 

The judge then adjourned for a hearing of the application for final forfeiture.

Upon resumption on June 21, no party appeared in court to contest the judge’s interim order and Chineye Okezie moved her application for the permanent forfeiture.

 

After reading a 41-paragraph affidavit deposed to by an EFCC Investigating Officer, Michael John Idoko, the 19 Exhibits attached, a Written Address signed by Okezie, and after hearing Okezie’s motion, Justice Aneke granted the application.

 

The properties were listed by the EFCC in two schedules, A and B.

The judge said: “Having carefully considered the application and submission of counsel, it is hereby ordered as follows: – that a final forfeiture order of this honourable court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule A herein which were traced and reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

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They include shops and apartments at Cadastral Zone Maitama and Wuse.

 

For Schedule B, Justice Aneke added: “That a final forfeiture order of this Honourable Court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule B herein which properties were traced to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

 

The properties include lands and apartments which were paid for on behalf of Oluwaseun at a total value of N1.04 billion.

 

According to the affidavit, Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo working with Olubunmi Makinde “used their positions and Influence as CBN staff to secure retail and Special allocation of Foreign Exchange to different companies in exchange for kickbacks.

 

“That Olubunmi Makinde is the link between Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo and the various companies applying for the purchase of foreign exchange.

 

“That Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo as staffs of the Central Bank of Nigeria has access to the bidding processes and bidding Data of companies who has applied for the approval of form Ms to the CBN through their various commercial banks.”

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Nigerian-born boxer shot dead by neighbour in US

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Isaiah Olugbemi, a Nigerian-born boxer, has been confirmed dead after he was shot multiple times in Odenton, Maryland, US.

 

According to local police, Olugbemi was found on the ground with gunshot wounds along Meadowmist Way in the city on June 17.

 

The 27-year-old was rushed to the Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced later pronounced dead.

 

Court documents later revealed that the police obtained surveillance footage showing a white male confronting Olugbemi with a handgun before shooting him multiple times and fleeing the scene on foot.

 

Nicholas Giroux, the victim’s neighbour, was identified as the suspect in the footage.

 

According to CBS, police said they interviewed Giroux on June 18, and he confessed to the crime and was charged with first and second-degree murder.

 

Abraham Olugbemi, the victim’s brother, alleged that Giroux had threatened the deceased at least two other times with a gun this year — in January and June.

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Olugbemi was a Junior Olympics gold medalist, a three-time Golden Gloves state boxing champion and a two-time Open Regional champion.

 

Giroux’s preliminary hearing is set for July 17.

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Gunmen abduct pregnant woman due for delivery on her way to hospital

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Some yet-to-be-identified armed men have abducted a pregnant woman, simply identified as Mrs Ogunbunmi in Ogun State.

 

Mrs Ogunbunmi, who was said to be due for delivery, reportedly left her home in Oke Lantoro for the State General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta before her reported abduction on a date not disclosed.

 

According to reports, her husband, Ogunbunmi Lateef, received a WhatsApp message notifying him of his wife’s kidnapping by these abductors.

Confirming the incident, on Thursday in a statement on her X handle formerly called Twitter, the spokesperson for the state police command, Omolola Odutola, said the suspected abduction had been reported to the command.

 

Odutola stated, “One Ogunbunmi Lateef of Oke Lantoro reported that his pregnant wife due for delivery left home for State Hospital Ijaiye Abeokuta.

 

“He received a WhatsApp message confirming the abduction of his wife by unknown armed men”.

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