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Crime

Welder jailed five years for N3.7m fraud

The Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Division, on Wednesday, sentenced a welder, Olatunji Bangboye, to five years in prison for obtaining the sum of N3.7m from one Chinedu Okpara under false pretences.

Bangboye was said to have between 2015 and 2017 in Ado Ekiti, under false pretences and with intent to defraud, collected building materials valued at N3.7m from Okpara.

The court found Bangboye guilty of the three counts levelled against him and subsequently sentenced him.

“On count one, the convict is sentenced to two years in prison without an option of fine. On counts two and three, he is sentenced to one year and six months on each count,” Justice Uchena Agomoh stated in his judgment.

The judge also ordered the convict to pay N2.7m balance to Okpara within six months from July 1, 2020, with the knowledge of the prosecutor as a way of showing restitution, having earlier paid N1m.

The judge said, “I have given a careful consideration of the submissions of both counsel. There’s no gainsaying that the convict is a first time offender and is remorseful.

“Learned counsel to the convict has submitted that the convict has domestic responsibility, having four children and aged parents. “This is a great responsibility and, therefore, one wonders what will happen if the convict is away for too long.

“There is also evidence before this honourable court that the convict has refunded the sum of N1m through the police out of the total contract sum; that shows he is remorseful and ready for restitution.

“The demeanour of the convict throughout the trial shows that he is remorseful. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Judge of the Federation has urged judges to decongest correctional centres.”

Earlier, the police prosecutor, Samson Osobu, had told the court that Bangboye, between 2015 and 2017, in Ado Ekiti, under false pretences and with intent to defraud, obtained building materials worth at N3.7m from the trader.

Osobu had said, “The defendant, between February 22, 2017 and March 3, 2017, issued cheques to one Chinedu Okpara, and when presented, the cheques were dishonoured due to lack of funds.

“The offences contravened sections 1(1)(3) and 11 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006, and Section 1(a)(I) of the Dishonoured Cheque Act.

The convict had earlier pleaded not guilty to the three counts.

The defence counsel, Mr Toyin Oluwole, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that the convict was remorseful and ready to pay restitution.

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