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EFCC secures convictions of three fraudsters for employment fraud in Gombe

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction of three fraudsters.

Justice J.A Kereng of the Gombe State High Court sitting in Gombe, on Monday, April 8, 2024 convicted and sentenced the duo of Ibrahim Abdullahi and Umar Usman to various jail terms for obtaining the sum of N682,847.00 (Six Hundred and Eighty- Two Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-Seven Naira only) under false pretences. He also sentenced Mohammed Sala Soja to six years imprisonment. All the three convicts were jailed for employment fraud.

Abdullahi and Usman were separately arraigned on three count charges of cheating and employment scam by the Gombe Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The charge against Ibrahim Abdullahi reads: “That you, Ibrahim Abdullahi sometimes in October 2020 and January 2021 in Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, obtained the Polaris ATM Card properties of Aminu Adamu Idris and Muhammed Saidu Jibril, which you claimed was documentation for offer of employment you secured for them in a private liability company at Gombe, but rather used the said ATM to obtain loan to the tune of N682,847(Six hundred and Eighty Two Thousand, Eighty Hundred and Forty Seven Naira only) without their consent and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 320 of the Penal Code Law and punishable under Section 322 of the same Law.”

The charge reads “that you, umar Usman sometimes in October 2020 and January 2021 in Gombe, Gombe State within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, obtained the Polaris ATM Card properties of Aminu Adamu. Idris and Muhammed Sadu Jibril, which you claimed was documentation for offer of employment you secured for them in a private liability company at Gombe, but rather used the said ATM to obtain loan to the tune of N682,847 (Six Hundred and Eighty Two Thousand, Eighty Hundred and Forty Seven Naira only) without their consent and there by committed an offense contrary to section 320 of the Penal Code Law and punishable under Section 322 of the same Law.”

Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges when they were read to them.

In view of the defendants’ pleas, prosecuting counsel, A.B Kware prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly. However, counsel to the defendants, R.A. Anthony pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy “as the defendants are first- time offenders who are remorseful for their actions.”

Justice Kereng convicted and sentenced Abdulahi to one year imprisonment with an option of fine of N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira only) and Usman bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N50,000.

The convicts bagged their imprisonment when they allegedly approached their victims in October 2022 about some phony job opportunities in a private liability company in Gombe State. They directed their victims to each open an account with Polaris bank which they did and surrendered the account details as well as their ATM Cards to them.

The convicts in return gave their victims the sum of N10,000 each. After a while, the victims had issues with Polaris bank’s transactions and went to the bank to make enquiries only to be confronted with an outstanding loan of N682 ,847. All efforts to distance themselves from the loan proved abortive and reported the case to the EFCC.

In a similar development on Monday, Justice Kereng also convicted and sentenced one Soja to six months imprisonment. He was arraigned on three count charges of intent to defraud, cheating and employment scam by the Gombe Zonal Command of the Economic and financial Crimes Commission, EFCC

One of the charge reads “that you, Muhammed Sala Soja sometimes in July 2023, at Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud did make a false document titled ‘2023 recruitment invitation for marshal’s basic course’ which knew to be false and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 362 of the Penal Code Law and punishable under Section 364 of the same Law.”

Upon arraignment, he pleaded guilty to the charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, AB Kware to pray the court to convict and sentence him accordingly. However, counsel to the defendant, I.S Gada pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy “as the defendant who was remorseful for his actions is the breadwinner of his family and has a medically challenged father to care for.”

Justice Kereng then asked Kware if the defendant was a first time- offender and the prosecution counsel responded that though the defendant had made restitution to the victim of crime, he was convicted by the same court on February 14 2024 for a similar offence.

Responding, the judge said, “Based on the plea of the defence counsel coupled with the fact that the defendant has restituted the victim of crime and his father’s medical condition, I will give him a second chance. The defendant is hereby convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment with an option of fine of N150,000

Soja still has other pending cases with the EFCC.

Crime

Mother of five jailed for forging late Abba Kyari’s signature

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The Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Gwagwalada, Abuja, has sentenced a mother of five, Ramat Mba, to one year imprisonment for her involvement in an employment scam.

Mba also forged the signature of the late Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the former President, Muhammadu Buhari.

The presiding judge, Honourable Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, had last week deferred the sentencing of the convict till Thursday but directed that she should be remanded in Suleja Correctional Centre.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission had arraigned Mba in June 2022 on a 5-count bordering on cheating, fraud and forgery, contrary to Section 13 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and Sections 320(b), 366 of the Penal Code Cap 89 laws of Northern Nigeria.

n the course of the trial, the commission, through its prosecutor, Hamza Sani, had led Mba in evidence before the court on how the convict committed the offence sometime in 2020 when she collected N4.5 million from several job seekers, promising to secure jobs for them with the ICPC and National Air Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

Also, the documentary evidence tendered showed that the convict fraudulently forged the letterhead of the Office of the Chief of Staff to former President Buhari and his signature.

The letter, addressed to the ICPC Chairman, was a request for the recruitment of three individuals by the commission.

However, the late CoS, in a written correspondence that was also tendered in court as an exhibit, distanced himself or his office from authorising the letter.

The spokesperson for the ICPC, Demola Bakare, revealed the development in a statement on Friday.

Bakare revealed, “The trial judge, Justice Muhammad, in his judgment on May 9, 2024, convicted the mother of five children on counts 1, 2, 3 and 5 that border on cheating and forgery, while she was discharged on count 4 which borders on felony.

“Justice Muhammad, during the sentencing on Thursday, pronounced a six-month jail term or N100,000 option of fine on counts 1, 2 and 3 on the convict.

“The presiding judge, who stressed the status of the convict as a first-time offender and a mother, also sentenced her to one-year imprisonment or N150,000 option on fine on count 5 which borders on forgery.”

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Crime

15 worshippers die in Kano mosque attack — Police

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The Kano State Police Command on Friday confirmed the death of 15 persons in the mosque attack in Gadan village in Gezawa Local Government Area of the state.

A man on Wednesday allegedly sprayed the mosque with petrol, locked its doors, and set it on fire, trapping worshippers.

The state Commissioner of Police, Usaini Gumel, told the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone interview that so far, 15 out of the 24 victims of the incident died.

Initial reports said one worshipper had died from the attack but the death toll later rose after more victims died while receiving treatment at the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano.

Gumel said that the incident occurred during a dawn prayer at a mosque in Gadan village, leaving 24 worshippers injured.

He said the injured victims were currently receiving treatment at the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital, Kano.

The suspect, Shafi’u Abubakar, 38 is currently in police custody.

The motive behind the attack was believed to be a family conflict over the sharing of family inheritance.

The commissioner said that the police are continuing with their investigation into the attack.

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Crime

Buying pre-registered SIM cards criminal, NCC warns

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has warned Nigerians against buying pre-registered SIM cards, citing the illegal nature of the practice, and could attract severe consequences.

In an advisory note sighted on its X platform on Friday, the telecom regulator emphasized that the use of pre-registered SIM cards compromises the accuracy of consumer information.

“Buying pre-registered SIM cards is criminal and may lead to imprisonment, implication in identity theft, financial fraud, kidnapping and armed robbery,” part of the advisory noted.

The NCC explained that using a pre-registered SIM card undermined the reliability of data collected on consumers, making it challenging for authorities to identify and apprehend the actual perpetrators of crimes.

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The warning aims to educate the public on the risks associated with pre-registered SIM cards and encourage compliance with legal guidelines to enhance national security.

The commission urged to follow the proper procedures for registering SIM cards to avoid any legal consequence.

The NCC made the linkage compulsory, directing all telecommunications operators to enforce complete network barring on all phone lines for which subscribers fail to link their SIM cards to their NINs.

There have been two phases of barring SIM cards not linked to NIN by the telcos – the first occurred on February 28 and the second one occurred on March 29.

The regulator, however, has extended the deadline for linking SIM cards to NIN (last phase) to July 31, 2024, from April 15. This extension applies to subscribers with more than four SIMs.

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