The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday arraigned one Usman Abubakar alongside his foundation, Young Alhaji Foundation, before a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, over alleged N950m fraud.
Abubakar, who was brought before Justice Mojisola Dada, is facing five counts bordering on conspiracy, stealing and attempt to steal and obtain by false pretence preferred against him by the EFCC.
The EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, told the court that the defendant and one Dr Abu Fawzi, who is still at large, conspired to commit the alleged fraud.
Buhari said the incident happened sometime between September 19 and 20, 2022.
The prosecutor said the defendant allegedly conspired to steal the sum of N950m from Ano Farms Limited, under the false pretence that he had the dollar equivalent of the said sum for exchange.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that Abubakar and Young Alhaji Foundation on September 20, 2022, attempted to dishonestly convert the sum of N180m, property of Ano Farms Limited to the use of one Abdullahi Mohammed.
According to the prosecutor, the offences committed contravened Section 8(a) 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006, 411, 280, 287 (9)(c) 406(2), 280(1)(b) and 287 (9)(c) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.
Following the defendant’s plea, the prosecuting counsel, prayed to the court for a trial date to enable the prosecution to call its witnesses and tender relevant documents to prove the case against the defendants.
“We also pray the court to remand the defendant at the Nigerian Correctional Facility pending the trial date,” the prosecutor said.
Counsel for the defendants, Olatubosun Olanipekun, SAN, however, informed the court that the defence “only got to know of the date for arraignment yesterday (Tuesday).”
He, however, pleaded with the court to remand the defendant at the EFCC custody pending the hearing of the defendant’s bail application.
An attempt to make an oral application for bail was dismissed by the court as the trial judge held that, “this court is a court of records.”
The bail application was thereafter served on the prosecution in open court.
Consequently, Justice Dada adjourned the case till March 1, 2023, for a hearing of the bail application and ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody pending the hearing of his bail application.