Justice M. L Shuaibu of the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu recently convicted and sentenced one Joseph Okoro to 35 years imprisonment on charges of conspiracy and fraud.
Okoro who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC , was found guilty on each of the 5-count charge which borders on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence contrary to section 1 (1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1 (3) of the same Act.
The convict was arrested in 2009 by the Nigeria police upon complaint by Igwe Donald Nwochi who alleged that a syndicate of fraudsters led by Okoro had scammed him of the sum of N2.2million on the pretext that they would supply him equipment needed for the repair of damaged NNPC refinery in Kaduna. After collecting initial deposit of N2.2Million, Okoro failed to make any supply but demanded for an additional N150, 000.00.
The case was then handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.
Count five of the charge reads; ‘that you, Joseph Okoro alias Celestine Nwafor and others now at large, on or about the 18th May, 2009 within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria obtained the sum of N1,350,000.00 from HRH Igwe Donald Nwochi by false pretence when you presented yourselves as officials of NNPC of Nigeria which requires the supply of oil Heading Model Type ‘A’ for machinery at NNPC Kaduna Refinery which pretence 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 section 1(3) of the same Act.’
Though the convict pleaded not guilty to the charge, Justice Shuaibu convicted him and accordingly sentenced him to 7 years imprisonment on each of the five counts. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Based on the application of EFCC counsel, Innocent Mbachie, the court also ordered the convict to pay the sum of one million, four hundred and eighty thousand naira (N1, 480,000.00) in restitution to the victim.
Media & Publicity
7th March, 2014