Thu. Apr 15th, 2021

N162m Fraud: Medical Report Stalls Sentencing of Convicted Fake BDC Operators

N162m Fraud: Medical Report Stalls Sentencing of Convicted Fake BDC Operators

The slated sentencing of two convicted Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, Uju Peace Izuogu and Richard Owegie, by a Federal High Court, Lagos, has been  stalled, due to the failure of the convicts’ counsel to furnish the court with the medical report of one of the convict.

The court presided by Justice Ayokunle Faji, had on November 27, 2020, convicted the two fake BDC operators alongside their company, Reoworld Enterprises Limited, of N162 million fraud brought against them by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi-Lagos.

Justice Faji had adjourned till last Friday, for further allocutus and sentencing, following an appeal made by Mr. E. E. Okoli, who had begged the court for a short adjournment, to enable him produce a medical report of his client, Uju Peace Izuogu, who he said is having heart-related challenges.

However, at the resumed of the matter of Friday, Uju’s counsel, failed to produce the medical report as promised on the excuses that the officials of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) demanded for a court order before they can issue medical report of the convict.

In a swift response to Okoli’s submission, the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) described the adjournment request as a ploy to waste court’s precious time by the convict’s counsel. Adding that the counsel failed to raise his client’s health issue in his final written address, wondered why he is begging the court to take cognisance of such at the day slated for the sentencing of the convicts. 

CSP Jackson, while cited plethora of authorities, said since the business of the day was for further allocutus and sentencing, the court should discountenance the adjournment request and go ahead with the sentence of the convicts.

Meanwhile, Justice Ayokunle Faji, has stated that whether or not the convict’s medical report is produced, the court will pronounce its sentences on December 11, 2020.

The two convicted fake BDC operators were charged before the court alongside their company, Reoworld Enterprises Limited on a three count-charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and fraud of N162 million, by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi, Lagos.

Justice Faji, had on November 27, 2020, pronounced the fake BDC operators guilty of all the three counts charge levelled against them by the PSFU.  after finding them guilty of the allegations.

In pronouncing the convicts guilty as charged, Justice Fajj held that: “I’m satisfied that the prosecution has proved the case of the three count charge against the defendants, beyond every reasonable doubts. The defendants are hereby guilty as charged”.

Justice Faji, after convicting the defendants, had adjourned till last Friday, December 4, for further allocutus and sentencing, sequel the demand made by Mr. Okoli, who had begged the court to consider the state of health of his client, Uju Peace Izuogu, in sentencing them.

To ascertain Okoli’s claim, the presiding judge, had ordered him to furnish the court with a medical report. However, when the matter resumed of Friday, Okoli could not still produce the medical report.

The convicts were accused of defrauding a lawyer, Nwosu Maduabuchi and others of the sum of N162 million, under the pretence that they will assist him in sending it to his clients in China, Dubai and Turkey, for the payment of goods he ordered for.

They were accused of using their unregistered company, Reoworld Enterprises Limited, to carry out the fraudulent acts between January and May 2016.

The offences according to the prosecutor, CSP Jackson, were contrary to and punishable under sections 8(a) and 1(3), and 1(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2014.