One Suleiman Magaji, a suspected fraudster who had pleaded not guilty to court charges preferred against him by the Maiduguri Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.
Magaji was arraigned before Justice Umaru Fadawu of the Borno State High Court on one-count charge bordering on criminal misappropriation to the tune of N11, 500, 000.00.
He was arraigned alongside Mohammed Idris over his involvement in the same fraud and charged on a one-count charge bordering on obtaining under false pretence to the tune of N1,000,000.00.
During his trial, Magaji had changed his initial “not guilty” plea to “guilty” before he was sentenced.
The charge against Magaji reads: “That you, Ibrahim Suleiman Magaji, on or about August 2021 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly misappropriated and converted for your own use the aggregate sum of N11,500,000.00, belonging to Umara Bukar under the guise that you will use the said money to purchase and supply 24 tons of Hibiscus flower (Zobo) to him and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Sections 308 and 309 of the Penal Code Law of Borno State (Cap. 102 Vol. 3 of 1994) respectively.”
On the other hand, Idris had pleaded not guilty to the charge against him. The charge reads: “That you, Mohammad Idris sometime in July, 2019 at Maiduguri Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud obtained the aggregate sum of N1, 000,000.00 (One Million Naira) from Nura Bello as purchase price for Mercury chemicals which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee fraud and Other Fraud related Offences Act, 2006.”
The two convicts began their journey to the Correctional Centre when they fraudulently collected a total sum of N12.5 million from their victims under false pretences.
When it became obvious to their victims that they had been duped, none of the convicts returned the funds to the victims.
Magaji was initially tried by EFCC counsels: Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, S.O Saka and F. Muhammad and presented three witnesses and tendered several documents as evidence.
His counsel, M. Ibrahim, however, prayed the court later to allow the defendant to change his plea.
Magaji pleaded guilty to the charge and Justice Fadawu thereafter convicted and sentenced him to one year imprisonment without an option of fine. The Judge further ordered the convict to pay the balance of N8m to his victim or serve three years jail term.
Prosecution counsel, S.K Saka, in the trial of Idris, presented five witnesses and tendered nine documents as evidence. Justice Fadawu, in his judgement, found him guilty, convicted and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment.
The court further ordered him to pay his victim the sum of N1m and in default, serve an additional three years.