Sun. Mar 26th, 2023

N266.5m Fraud: Court Refuses Alleged Fake Army General’s Bail Appllication

Mr. Bolarinwa Abiodun, In Army General’s Uniform

N266.5m Fraud: Court Refuses Alleged Fake Army General’s Bail Appllication

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos, today, dismissed bail application brought her by an alleged fake Army General, Bolarinwa Abiodun, who is standing trial before the Court, on a 13-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, forgery of documents, and possession of documents containing false pretence values N266. 5 million.

The alleged fake Army General was charged before the court by the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the 13-count charges.

He was arraigned before the court on April 11, 2022, over offences which are contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2006; Section 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015. And Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006, respectively.

According to the charge: “Bolarinwa  Oluwasegun Abiodun, between 15th June, 2020 and 31st December 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and whilst holding yourself out as a General in the Nigerian Army, obtained the sum of N111. 4 million, from a company under the pretence that the sum represented part of the amount expended to “press and process” your incoming appointment by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, as the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) of the Nigerian Army, which pretence you knew to be false.”

The charge further reads: “Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun, sometime in May 2020 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly forged LETTER OF APPOINTMENT As Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) dated 20th May 2020 and purported the said document to have emanated from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which document you know to be false.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. Consequently, Justice Taiwo on April 14, 2022, heard his bail application, which was moved by his counsel, Kayode Lawal. 

In his argument before the court, he said: ‘The law provides that all accused persons are presumed innocent until found guilty”, and urged the Court to admit his client to bail “pending the hearing and determination of this case and for such other order”.

However, EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, vehemently opposed the bail application.

In his argument, Oyedepo noted that: “this is a situation that warrants your lordship to exercise Judicial discretion against the accused.”

Adopting the written address of the prosecution, Oyedepo urged the Court to refuse the application for bail, arguing that “not withstanding the purpose of the deposition in our two affidavits, there is no single reply from the applicant”.

Citing the case of Uket versus FRN 2007 LPLR, Oyedepo argued that: “the issue is that where there is no reply to a counter-affidavit, the facts therein deposed are deemed admitted and conceded by the other party”.

He said: “Looking at the disposition of the person seeking your lordship’s discretion, is it safe for our witnesses, is it safe for us, to say the man in whose custody we have found multiple ammunition and gun, be released?

“We cannot put our lives in jeopardy, we will not wait until the tragic happens, and we don’t want to jeopardise the life of the complainant; he’s not safe.

“My lord, this matter is everywhere, even for his own safety, he should have a place that is safe for him; he should be in a safe custody.

“We therefore urge your lordship with due respect to refuse the application and to order accelerated hearing as we are ready to expeditiously prosecute this case and we assure my lordship there will not be any delay.”

Delivering ruling on the bail application, today, Justice Taiwo held that “the defendant did not challenge the averment of the counter-affidavit and the further affidavit of the prosecution.

“I am therefore in agreement with the prosecution that the defendant constitutes a flight risk.

“Though the offences against the defendant are bailable offences, I am inclined to refuse the application for bail and order accelerated hearing. 

“Thus the application for bail is refused and the defendant is to remain in prison custody, and accelerated hearing is hereby ordered.”

Meanwhile, further hearing of the matter has been adjourned till April 29, 2022.