The owner of Victoria East Park Hotel and Suite, Igbogbo, in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, Fredrick Ebiesuwa, and his wife, Tinuola Oyegunle, have been sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment over a fraud of N53,713,260.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the couple and other suspects at large defrauded one Dunni Olateru-Olagbegi of the said sum under the guise of helping her to avert mysterious death.
It was gathered that the victim, sometime in May 2013, boarded a cab with the fraudsters and upon entering the cab, the gang started arguing about a bag filled with dollars.
Our correspondent learnt that minutes after the syndicate argued about the bag, one of them told the victim that she would have to undergo cleansing to avert mysterious death after listening to their conversation.
According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the victim was taken to an unknown location, where she gave the couple and other members of the syndicate various sums in cash and bank payment, amounting to N53,713,260 for the spiritual exercise.
The EFCC, in a statement on Monday, said it was discovered that over N9m was paid into Oyegunle’s account, while other funds were traced to her husband’s account, adding that the proceeds of the crime were used to build a hotel.
The couple were arraigned on four counts of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretences.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Delivering judgment on Monday, Justice Joyce Abdulmalik, of the Federal High Court in Ibadan, sentenced them to 10 years’ imprisonment on each count, adding that the sentence, which would start from the day of their arrest, would run concurrently.
The judge also ordered that the hotel be sold and the proceeds, if not up to N53,713,260, be returned to the victim and if it exceeded, the balance be paid into the Federal Government’s account.
In a related development, a disc jockey, Blessed Michael, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment by Justice Mohammed Tukur of the Kaduna State High Court for cloning the Facebook accounts of a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.) and the daughter of Aliko Dangote, Mariya.
Michael was said to have cloned the accounts to solicit money from people who sought enlistment into the Nigerian Army.
It was gathered that the DJ asked applicants to call a telephone number he added to the cloned accounts.
According to the EFCC, the suspect was arrested when his victims alerted the anti-graft agency.
Michael was arraigned on one count bordering on cheating by impersonation.
He pleaded guilty to the charge.
Justice Tukur convicted and sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment without an option of fine.