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Court orders internet fraudster to sweep Mpape secondary school for 90 days

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Court orders internet fraudster to sweep Mpape secondary school for 90 days

… As Police arrest pastor, 25 others in C/River***

An FCT High Court, sitting in Kubwa, on Tuesday ordered a 21- year-old student, Abraham Umuibe, who cheated a Chinese woman of N113, 000 to sweep Mpape Government Secondary School for 90 days.

Delivering judgment, Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya said the court had been enjoyed to give non-custodial sentencing geared toward decongestion of the prisons depending on the case, adding that the parties entered a plea bargain.

Ogbonnaya ordered the prison officers to provide a register for Umuibe to sign in daily for the 90 days and after which he would be free to go home.

She warned him to desist from committing crimes and be of good behaviour.

Earlier, the defence counsel, Ruth Mamza, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that the defendant was a first time offender with no criminal record.

According to Mamza, he is remorseful and understood the gravity of his offence.

Also read: Court fixes Sept. 20 for judgment in Kalu’s suit seeking to stop retrial

“The defendant has repented and refunded everything he collected from the crime,’’ Mamza said.

The newsmen report that the prosecuting counsel, Ijeabalum Diribe told the court that Umuibe and his defence counsel had entered and signed a plea bargain on June 16.

Diribe urged the court to sentence and convict Umuibe in line with the terms of the plea bargain entered which states that upon conviction, the defendant should pay N113, 000 fine or one month in prison.

The EFCC charged Umuibe with cheating and falsely representing himself as a Chinese citizen and military man named Maisbay Chang.

The prosecuting counsel said Umuibe fraudulently induced a Chinese lady on WE chat and collected N113, 000 from her.

She said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 95 of the Penal Code.

In the meantime,  the Police Command in Cross River has arrested the Pastor of United Evangelical Church, Michael Bassey, 45, for unlawful possession of human skull.

It also apprehended 25 other suspects for various offences committed in the state.

Briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Calabar, Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Sikiru Akande, said that the pastor was arrested upon a complaint from a concern citizen on threat to life.

Akande said that the suspect was arrested at No. 56 Uwanse by Asuquo Ekpo Street in Calabar South.

“The suspect was arrested with one human skull tied with the complainant’s picture and carved human image with red clothes.

“Investigation is still ongoing and the suspect will be arraigned in court,” he said.

The CP also paraded one Christian Edem-Eyo, 34, for allegedly killing and beheading one Uduak Okpo, 65, and buried her head and the body separately on June 6.

The Commissioner also said that the suspect would soon be charged to court accordingly.

Bassey, however, told the newsmen that he was not into any diabolical act.

According to him, he has been conducting healing services for his congregation members before his arrest.

“I don’t know anything about this human skull. I am innocent of the charges against me,” he maintained.

On his part, the murder suspect, Edem-Eyo, told newsmen that he killed Okpo because she belonged to the spiritual world.

“I killed Uduak Okpo because she belonged to the marine world. She was terrorising me spiritually in the compound,” he said.

The CP said that the Command’s “Operation Restore Peace” in the state had yielded results through the arrest of criminals disturbing the peace of the people.

He said that the command was liaising with traditional rulers, youth groups, stakeholders and community dwellers on ways to restore peace and order in the state.

 

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Alleged Money Laundering: Court Rejects Binance Executive’s Bail Plea

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Alleged Money Laundering: Court Rejects Binance Executive’s Bail Plea

…As FIRS files amended charge against Binance, Gambary over alleged tax evasion :

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday dismissed a bail application filed by the detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling, held that based on the affidavit evidence before him, Gambaryan would jump bail if the application was granted.

“I have carefully considered the affidavit evidence before me and I am of the view that the applicant will jump bail if granted bail,” Justice Nwite declared.

However, the judge ordered an accelerated hearing in the trial.

 Justice Nwite had, on April 23, fixed today for the ruling after counsel for the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, and Gambaryan’s lawyer, Mark Mordi, SAN, adopted their processes and argued their case against and for the bail plea.

Justice Nwite had ordered the remand of Gambaryan in Kuje Correctional Centre after he pleaded not guilty to the money laundering charges preferred against him by the EFCC.

The EFCC had accused Binance Holdings Limited, Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, another agent of the company, of allegedly conspiring amongst themselves to conceal the origin of the financial proceeds of their alleged unlawful activities in Nigeria including $35, 400, 000.

They were alleged to have committed an offence contrary to Section 21 (a) and punishable under Section 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, among others.

However, Anjarwalla escaped from lawful custody on March 22 and fled Nigeria for Kenya.

Mordi, on Gambaryan’s behalf, had filed an application seeking an order from the court, to release his client on bail pending the hearing and determination of the substantive case.

Mordi, in the last adjourned date, had argued that the EFCC had failed to produce any credible evidence to oppose his application.

According to him, the complainant’s allegation that Gambaryan was arranging to escape from custody like his colleague was false.

“No exhibit or document is displaying EFCC’s credible intelligence.

But EFCC’s lawyer disagreed with Mordi.

Iheanacho argued that the court would have taken a grave risk by granting the Binance agent bail because he had no attachment to any community in Nigeria or competent person to stand as his surety.

He contended that Gambaryan attempted to apply for a new United States passport while in detention knowing fully well his International passport was seized by the Nigerian state.

The lawyer said he was a flight risk and that if granted bail, he would jump bail like his colleague.

He disagreed with Mordi that the commission had not provided credible evidence that Gambaryan was planning to escape.

He said going by the deposition in their counter affidavit, the deponent was one of the investigative teams that investigated the case.

He urged the court to dismiss the bail application.

In the alternative, he advised the court to return the applicant to EFCC custody if the judge decided to grant him bail.

In another development, the  Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has filed an amended four-count charge against Binance Holdings Limited and its executive, Tigran Gambaryan, on alleged tax evasion.

FIRS lawyer, Moses Ideho, made this known on Friday before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court, Abuja.

Ideho informed the court that following the escape of Nadeem Anjarwalla from lawful custody, the agency deemed it necessary to amend the charge to properly reflect Anjarwalla’s position in the instant charge, as being at large.

“We apply to substitute our charge dated 22nd of March, 2024 with an amended charge dated 17th of May, 2024.

“We apply that the charge be read to the 1st and 2nd defendants (Binance and Gambaryan) to take their plea,” he prayed

But counsel for Binance, Chukwuka Ikwuazo, SAN, who also appeared for Gambaryan, opposed to Ideho’s application that the fresh charge be read to his clients.

Ikwuazo argued that the charge was just being filed this morning and he was yet to see it to consult with his clients to prepare for their defence.

Justice Nwite subsequently adjourned the matter until May 22 for arraignment.

Earlier, the judge, in a ruling, ordered that the FIRS serve the company (1st defendant) through Gambaryan (2nd defendant) the charge in the matter.

Justice Nwite held that Gambaryan, being the Binance Chief Financial Compliant Officer, ought to be served with the charge as the company’s representative in Nigeria in accordance with the law.

He discounted the argument of Ikwuazo that Gambaryan was neither a director, secretary or chief agent of the crypto-currency firm.

It was reported that the court had fixed their arraignment for April 4.

However, the arraignment could not proceed due to the inability of FIRS to effect service of the charge on the defendants.

The defendants are being charged on four counts bordering on alleged tax evasion in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024.

In the charge dated and filed March 22 by the FIRS, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offence on or about Feb. 1.

Count one alleged that while involved in carrying and offering services to subscribers on their platform, known as Binance, failed to register with the FIRS, to pay all relevant taxes administered by the service.

The offences are said to be punishable under Sections 8 and 29 of the VAT Act of 1993 (as Amended), Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act, 2007 (as amended) and under provisions of Section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act 

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Trader Docked For Allegedly Cheating Friend Of N42,000

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Trader Docked For Allegedly Cheating Friend Of N42,000

The lesson of honesty as the best policy came to the fore on Friday, as a 35-year-old trader, Auwalu Nura was docked in a Kano Sharia Court, for allegedly cheating his friend of just N42,000.

The police charged Nura who lives in Rimin Kebe Quarters, Kano with criminal breach of trust, cheating and mischief.

The prosecutor, Insp Abdullahi Wada told the court that the complainant, Muhammed Abba, who also resides in Rimin Kebe Quarters, reported the matter at the Fagge Police Station in Kano, on May 10.

Wada said that the complainant entrusted the defendant with N42,000 to help him buy a cellphone.

The police said that the defendant dishonestly converted the money to his personal use.

The prosecutor further told the court that when the complainant asked the defendant about his money, the defendant could not give a satisfactory answer and efforts made to get the money, failed.

The prosecutor said the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 202 and  206 of the Penal Code.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Judge, Malam Ismai’l Muhammad-Ahmed, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N20,000 with one surety.

Muhammed-Ahmed adjourned the matter until June 4, for further mention.

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Court Remands Ex-Oyo PMS Chairman, Auxiliary, Over Alleged Murder

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Court Remands Ex-Oyo PMS Chairman, Auxiliary, Over Alleged Murder

…parade ex-Oyo PMS Chairman, Auxiliary, over armed robbery

An Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ Court, Ibadan, has remanded the former Chairman, Park Management System (PMS) in Oyo State, Mukaila Lamidi, (a.k.a Auxiliary) at Agodi Correctional Centre over alleged murder.

Chief Magistrate Olabisi Ogunkanmi ordered the remand of the 63-year-old defendant due to lack of jurisdiction.

Ogunkanmi said the remand was pending the issuance of legal advice from the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

She, thereafter, adjourned the matter till July 11, for mention.

The defendant, who was represented by Mr Tope Olayinka, was charged with a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy, causing death and stealing.

CSP Funke Fawole, Officer-in-Charge, Legal Department of the Police, Oyo State Command, had earlier told the court that Lamidi and others now at large allegedly conspired to commit the offences.

Fawole said, “On June 16, 2021, at about 3.30 p.m., Lamidi and others now at large allegedly caused the death of one Azeez Rahman Abiodun, 36, by stabbing him with a knife in the chest.

“On June 16, 2021, the defendant and others allegedly conspired and stole assorted phones valued at N150 million, property of Azeez Hammed Adebayo”.

The offences, she said, were committed at Baba-Onilu Shopping Complex, Iwo Road area of Ibadan.

She said the offence was contrary to Sections 383 and 316 and punishable under Sections 319, l1l, 390 (9), 324 and 516 of the Criminal Code Laws of Oyo State 2000.

In the meantime, the Police Command in Oyo State, on Thursday, paraded the former Oyo State Park Management System (PMS), Mukaila Lamidi, popularly known as Auxiliary, over alleged murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.

The Commissioner of Police, Adebola Hamzat, while briefing newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Ibadan, said that the command had, on June 2, 2023, declared Lamidi wanted.

Hamzat listed the offences committed by the former PMS chairman to include: murder, attempted murder, arms dealing, armed robbery and kidnapping.

He said that the suspect was declared wanted in furtherance of a well-coordinated intelligence-led raid by the police on May 30 and May 31, 2023, on the suspect’s Diamond Hotel residence at Alakia, where 78 suspects were arrested and weapons recovered.

According to him, the exhibits recovered from the suspect’s residence and hotel include two SMG riffles with two magazines, one AK-47 rifle, One Pump action riffle, nine locally-made pistols and two English pistols with magazines.

Others were: 70 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 338 pieces of live cartridges, 62 expended, 13 pieces of 9-mm ammunition, nine jack knives, three axes and 400 pieces of long cutlasses, among others.

Hamzat said that the suspect was recently arrested due to the collaborative efforts of the police and other sister security agencies in the state.

“Furtherance of these, discreet intelligence-led search commenced for the sacked PMS chieftain, with the help of technology, collaborative efforts with sister services and community policing.

“Many locations were identified, traced and combed for months until his recent arrest in a concerted effort with our sister services,” he said.

Hamzat said the suspect would be charged in court for the offences committed.
He thanked the public for providing credible information to curb crime in the state.

Hamzat pledged the command’s commitment to dealing with any criminally motivated individual or group intending to flip the state retrogressively into the historical dark ages of the “Wild Wild West”. 

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