Police Arraign 2 Men Of Alleged N800m Property Fraud

The Second Defendant, Sabo Muhammed Jimeta, When He was Arrested

Two men, Mshelia Julius Silas and Sabo Muhammed Jimeta, were today, arraigned before a Lagos Federal High Court, on alleged fraud of conspiracy, fraud of N800 million and unlawful conversation of fund.

The two defendants and a limited liability company, Jitau Investment Limited, were arraigned by the officers of Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), on the the alleged offences before the court presided over by Justice  Nicholas Oweibo.

The First Defendant, Mshelia Julius Silas

Arraigning the two men, the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) who led Mr Justin Enang, told the court the defendants alongside Albert Atiwurcha; Nanda Ezekiel and J &J Holding Villa Limited now at large.

Mr. Jackson, the Officer in-charge of PSFU’s Legal Department, told the court that the defendants with an intent to defraud, conspired among themselves and fraudulently sold off a property located at  3 Bunu Sheriff Crescent, Katempe Extension, Abuja, for the sum of N800 million.

The prosecutors told the court that the said property belongs to one Abubakar Baba Zango. Adding that upon selling off the property, the defendants diverted the proceeds into two bank accounts, Union Bank Plc account number 0041529275, belonging to Jitau Investment Limited and Zenith Bank Plc’s account number 1016265443, belonging to J and J Holding Villa Ltd, different from the one nominated by the owner of the property, Abubakar Baba Zango.

The prosecutors also told the court that the offences committed by the defendants, contravened sections 1(3) and 1(i)(a) and of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.

The prosecutor further told the court that the offences contravened section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as Amended in 2012. 

The defendants, pleaded not guilty to the offences when the charges were read to them.

Following their plea, lawyers to the defendants, kyari Joe Gadzama (SAN); Kole Bello and J. W. Dong, told the court that their clients’ bail applications had been filed and served of the prosecution.

In moving the bail applications, Gadzama (SAN) after citing plethoras of authorites, told the court that his client, Mshelia Julius Silas, was earlier admitted to administrative bail by the police after they collected some money from him, and he came back to the police yesterday to be arraigned today. Adding that by the provisions of the constitution, his client is entitled to bail.

He told the court that the case that brought his client to court was purely a civil contract between parties.

He  therefore urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms, and that the court should even grant him bail on self-recognisance. While assured the court that his client will always be in court till the determination of the charges.

Also, Mr. Kole, counsel to the second defendant, while aligned himself with the SAN’s submissions.

In opposing the bail applications, the prosecutor, Mr. Jackson, told the court that it was true that the Defendants were given administrative bail, but it took the police extra strength before they were rearrested and brought to court for arraignment.

He told the court to discountenance the arguments of the learned Silk that matter was purely a civil one, rather the nitty gritty of the matter was a criminal one which informed charging the defendants to court.
 He told the court the the defendants will not turn up for their trial if admitted to bail. He consequently asked the court not grant the bail applications.

Delivering ruling on the bail application, Justice Oweibo acceded to the defendants’ lawyers request, and admitted each of the defendant to bail in the sum of N500 million each with one surety in like sum.

The judge ordered that the surety must be a property owner within Lagos and that the property must worth the bail sum. Adding that the surety must provides evidence of tax payment for three years.

Justice Oweibo while adjourning the matter till June 21 for trial, ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of the SFU till the perfection of the bail terms.

This medium gathered that the alleged fraud on the property was discovered after the second buyer, who is a former governor in the country discovered that it had earlier be sold someone.