EFCC Arraigns 51-year-old Consultant for N2.4m Visa Scam

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office has arraigned one Bashirudeen Babalola before Justice W.O. Akanbi of the Osun State High Court, sitting in Osogbo on a five-count charge of obtaining under false pretence and issuance of dud cheque.

Babalola’s arraignment was sequel to a petition the Commission received from a complainant in which it was alleged that sometimes in 2016 the petitioner approached the defendant who was a representative of Achievers Global Consult For Excellent Limited for the purpose of procuring for his (petitioner’s) cousin an admission into the University of Calgary, Canada, and processing of resident visa in the country.

The petitioner alleged that he thereafter, paid N2,400,000 (Two Million Four Hundred Thousand Naira) to the defendant for the job, adding that the visa was refused because the defendant only submitted fake documents, having converted the money paid for the process to his personal use.

According to him, when approached for a refund since he could not fulfil his own part of the bargain, the defendant issued four cheques totalling N2,400,000. The cheques were, however, returned unpaid due to insufficient funds in the account when they were presented.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Bashirudeen Babalola, sometimes in the month of May 2016, in Osogbo, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, fraudulently and with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N2,400,000 (Two Million Four Hundred Thousand Naira) only from one Emmanuel Adedokun Adejorin on the pretence that the money is for admission and Residency visa of Akinropo Charles Damilola at the Calgary University, Canada, a representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence.”

The charges brought against the defendant are contrary to Section 1(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 1(1) (b) (i) of the Dishonoured Cheque (Offences) Act, CapD11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Babalola pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Consequent upon his plea, counsel for the EFCC, Shamsudden Bashir, applied for trial date and prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison.

Defence counsel, J. P. John moved the bail application for his client, and prayed the court to admit him to bail on most liberal terms.

The prosecution, however, raised objections to the application, arguing that the defendant posed a flight risk, as he earlier jumped the administrative bail granted him by the EFCC.

According to Shamsudden, “there is a high risk of the defendant taking flight because when the defendant was granted administrative bail by the EFCC he jumped bail before he was re-arrested. Therefore we urged the court to refuse his application and order for accelerated hearing of his case”.

After listening to the argument of both counsels, Justice Akanbi admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N2,500,000 (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) and one surety in like sum, who must be a Civil Servant either in the Federal or State Civil Service not below grade level 15 or a property owner within the jurisdiction of the court.

The case has been adjourned to May 7, 2019 and the defendant is to be remanded in prison pending the perfection of his bail conditions.

Tony Orilade

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