Justice Aisha Kumaliya of the Borno State High Court sitting in Maiduguri, has convicted and sentenced Tope Jimi Fagun to two years imprisonment for election-related fraud. She also convicted and sentenced Modu Ali to six months imprisonment for land fraud.
The two fraudsters were jailed on Monday, May 16, 2022 after pleading guilty to charges preferred against them by the Maiduguri Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
While Fagun pleaded guilty to one –count amended charge bordering on obtaining under false pretence to the tune of N70, 000, 000( Seventy Million Naira) , Ali pleaded guilty to two-count charges bordering on land and property fraud. Fagun was first arraigned on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 and pleaded not guilty to one-count charge but changed his plea to guilty on Monday, thereby paving way for his conviction.
The one count amended charge against Fagun read: “That you, Tope Jimi Fagun sometimes between July and August, 2020 in Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonestly induced one Alhaji Ali BUkar Dalori to cause the gross sum of Seventy Million Naira (N70, 000,000.00) only (both in Naira and Dollar currencies) to be delivered to you in cash and via Bank transfers into Access Bank account number 0693630685 and First Bank account number 3053942408 under the guise that the said sum was to be utilised in promoting the APC Party Campaign activities in the Edo State 2020 Gubernatorial Election and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 320 (a) and Punishable under Section 322 of the Penal Code Cap 102 Laws of Borno State.”
The defendant pleaded ‘guilty’ when the charge was read to him.
Based on his plea, prosecution counsel, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed prayed the court to convict him as charged and the restitution of funds fraudulently obtained from the victim.
Justice Kumaliya thereafter convicted and sentenced Fagun to two years imprisonment, with an option of fine of Three HundredThousand Naira( N300, 000). She further ordered Fagun to pay his victim a balance of N6.5million and or six years imprisonment in default of payment.
Fagun’s journey to the Correctional Centre started when a petitioner, Alhaji Ali Bukar Dalori, alleged that the defendant swindled him by collecting the sum of N70million to promote the activities of All Peoples Congress, APC in the Edo State’s 2020 Gubernatorial election.
In a related development, Ali was initially arraigned on two- count charges for alleged criminal misappropriation to the tune of N570, 000.00 (Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira only) and pleaded guilty on the first -count charge and not guilty on the second count. However, he pleaded guilty to both charges on Monday, thereby paving way for his conviction.
The second count charge read: “That you Modu Ali on or about the 15th January, 2019 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly misappropriated the sum of N270,000.00 (Two Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira) only, property belonging to one Suleiman Bukar of Dala Shehuri Maiduguri, Borno Stat, being amount for the purchase of a plot of land laying and situate at Masa Malambe behind Bakassi Estate Maiduguri, Borno State and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Sections 308 and 309 of the Penal Code Laws of Borno State Cap. 102 Vol. 3 of 1994 respectively.”
The defendant pleaded guilty to the count.
Justice Kumaliya thereafter convicted and sentenced Ali to six month imprisonment with an option of N50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira only). The judge ordered the convict to restitute his victim the sum of N300,000.
Ali’s road to the Correctional Centre opened, when he dishonestly sold two plots of land to Suleiman Bukar and Abubakar Mala and refused to remit the purchase sum to the owner of the land. He also failed to return the money to the complainants.