By Chimezie Godfrey
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has secured the conviction of Umar Hussaini, a lawyer to former Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NSC), the late Abdullahi Dikko, over a N1.1 billion fraud.
A statement by the Spokesperson of ICPC, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua recalled that the ICPC, in a Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/74/2020, had arraigned Hussaini before Honourable Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja over his complicity in inducing the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Mr. Yemi Obadeyi, who was the complainant, to pay N1.1bn into the account of Capital Law Office on the 6th of March 2010, as refundable “completion security deposit” for the procurement of 120 units of houses as residential accommodation for officers of NCS.
Ogugua noted that when the matter was filed for trial, the convict deployed a lot of delay tactics to stall the trial including filing a “No Case Submission” before the Court arguing that the said sum paid into the account of Capital Law Office was induced by the deceased former Comptroller-General and a former Deputy Comptroller General, Garba Bala Makarfi who instructed Mr. Obadeyi to pay the money, and that set the tune for a long legal tussle.
She stated,”However, prosecution was able to sufficiently link the defendant to the alleged offences with prima facie evidence.
“The Court was also informed of how the convict pretended to be an external solicitor to the NCS when he knew that he was not, which false pretense induced the complainants to deposit the funds into the account of his private law firm because the complainant believed that he was acting on behalf of the NCS.
“Justice Ojukwu thereafter found Hussaini guilty on two counts of obtaining by false pretense, contrary to and punishable under the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.
“The trial Judge then sentenced him to seven years prison term on each count with an option of fine of N100 million. The sentences are to run concurrently.
“He was also ordered to pay the sum of N100 million as compensation to the complainant, Yemi Obadeyi and the company, Cambial Limited.
“The Judge further ruled that the convict be remanded in prison custody pending the fulfillment of the terms of fine.”