By Adebisi Onanuga
An Investigating Officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Daniel Danladi, on Friday told Ikeja Special Offences Court how suspected fraudster used forged Citi Bank and FIRS documents to defraud a Kuwaiti businessman of the sum of $4.8 million.
The defendants, Victor Uadiale and Everest Nnaji, are facing a five-count charge of conspiracy of obtaining money by false pretences before Justice Mojisola Dada.
EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that Uadiale, who also goes by the alias ‘Victor Emeka’ and Amaka Emeka committed the offence alongside one Nnaji and Ismaila Lawal, now at large, between 1997 and 1998 in Lagos.
According to him, “Uadiale and Lawal, between February 24 and March 19, 1997, with intent to defraud, obtained a sum of $93,250 from Tawfeeq Al-Omar, a Kuwaiti national.
“The funds were received under the false pretence that it represented the payment for 50,000 metric tonnes of Urea (phosphate fertilizer) which they claimed was procured from National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON).
“On August 11, 1997 in Lagos Uadiale and Lawal fraudulently obtained $282,500 from Al-Omar under the false pretence that the money was payment for 75,000 metric tonnes of diesel procured from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“Between November 25, 1997 and May 18, 2006 Uadiale and Nnaji in Lagos obtained an aggregate sum of $3.5 million from Al -Omar under the pretense that the funds was payment for bonny light crude diesel.
“Also, between January 17, 2007 and February 8, 2011, Uadiale solely obtained $945,000 from Al-Omar by falsely claiming that the money was payment for bonny light crude diesel,” Oyedepo said.
According to the anti-graft commission, the offence contravened the provisions of Section 1(3) and 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 1995.
Led by Oyedepo at the resumed trial of the defendants, Danladi said investigation revealed that the two documents used to defraud the victim were forged.
Oyedepo recalled various exhibit from court dockets and asked the Investigating Officer to reveal the outcome of their investigation on the exhibits.
The exhibits he recalled include Citi Bank Statement of Account, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) documents, electronic evidence of a phone call conversation between the victim and the suspects, and others.
According to Danladi, findings made by the anti-graft agency confirmed that the defendants used an account with Barclays Bank to perpetuate the fraud.
“When we approached the representative of the bank in Nigeria, he confirmed that he would not give third party details of the account domicile in their bank.
“He said it only the suspects who can authorised access to the account.
“Since we had agreement with the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI), we wrote letters to Nigeria Intelligence Financial Unit (NIFU), Office Attorney General of the Federation.
“The NIFU in their reply to the EFCC confirmed that the transaction actually occurred a long time ago,” Danladi affirmed.
Danladi said the commission beamed their searchlights on some of the MTN phone lines discovered in bundle of documents given to them by lawyer to the victim.
He said the MTN lines were used by the defendants to perpetrate the fraud.
“We wrote to the MTN to provide us with the call log of the numbers. Findings from the call log revealed that the phone calls were made from the same location one of the defendants was residing,” the witness said.
Justice Dada adjourned the matter to September 21 for continuation of the prosecution case.