The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, on Thursday, October 11, 2012, arraigned Abraham Walson before Justice U. N. Agomoh of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on a nine count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and fraud.

Walson's arrest and prosecution by the EFCC followed a petition by Mr. Fred Atasie, who alleged that the accused was hired as an instructor at a training centre in Port Harcourt in June 2010, for the training of unemployed youths in pipeline fitting and fabrication. But Walson later recruited his own team and began to extort the unemployed youths by demanding huge sums of money from the trainees under the guise he would facilitate their employment with SAIPEM, an oil servicing company.

In the course of investigation, the accused confessed to collecting huge sums of money from the trainees. According to him, the entire sum that he collected from about 263 youths amounted to over N10, 000,000. From this heist, he purchased a Nissan Almera car with registration number AM 613 BNY.

Part of the charge against Walson reads: "That you, Abraham Walson (M) sometime in February 2011 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this honorable Court, with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N1,300,000 (one million three hundred thousand naira) from one Apostle Emmanuel Tom Ebitu under the pretence that the said sum of money would be used for the training of 14 members of his congregation and their job offer as pipe fitters with PETEX CONSULTANT OFFSHORE, you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section1(3) of the same Act.
When the case was called up, Counsel to EFCC, O. B. Akinsola (Mrs.) urged the court to strike out the names of the second and third accused persons from the charge as they were unavailable in court.
The Judge granted the application and struck out the names. When the amended charge was read to the accused person, who pleaded not guilty. But the defence counsel, W.O. Irehovbude immediately tabled an oral application for bail and pleaded with the court to honour same. The court refused the prayer and adjourned the case till Monday October 15, 2012.

At the resumed hearing of the bail application, the judge granted bail in the sum of N2million (two million naira) and two sureties in like sum; one of whom must be based in Port Harcourt. The two sureties, the judge said must produce their passport photographs which must be verified by the prosecution. The matter was adjourned to November 7, 2012, for trial.

Wilson Uwujaren
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
17th October, 2012