Seye Ojo, Ibadan
A sixty-year-old man, Charles Jide-Oni, who claimed to be a professor and lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, was arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State for allegedly obtaining money under false pretense and engaging in Advance Fee Fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office, arraigned the ‘professor’ and 12 other Internet fraud suspects before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, of the Federal High Court on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
Jide-Oni’s arraignment was a sequel to the EFCC’s damning findings about the activities of an illegal financial outfit he floated through which he allegedly swindled his victims of several millions of naira.
Some of the victims had earlier written a petition to the commission whose investigations the anti-graft agency said indicted him in the alleged fraudulent act.
Among other 12 suspects equally arraigned are Olaleye Kolapo, Madukife Ifeanyi Azuka, Fatanmi Yinka Sunday, Adebayo Bolaji Adeyinka, Adeleke Peter and Adebowale Fadairo,
Others were Oyewunmi Toulope Michael, Bello Ayoade Jalal Arikalam, Owolabi Toheeb Toluope, Abdullahi Abdulazeez Oluwatobi, Temitope Fatolu and Adesina Adewale.
Fatolu (aka Gold Crumb), however, opted for a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to a one-count amended charge of fraudulent impersonation when he was presented before the court on Wednesday.
He was subsequently sentenced to one-year imprisonment with effect from June 20, 2019, when he was arrested.
Gold Crumb was also to restitute the sum of $500 through the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to his victim, and to equally forfeit his iPhone 6, Nokia 103 and Hp Laptop to the Federal Government of Nigeria, being part of the benefit he derived from his fraudulent act.
Due to the bail application filed and argued by his lawyer on his behalf, Justice Oweibo granted Jide-Oni bail to the tune of N10 million and two sureties in like sum. The sureties, the court held, must be of Grade Level 10 officers in the civil service and must be resident in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
The judge also ordered that the accused person be remanded in Ilesha prison pending the time he was able to fulfill his bail conditions as he adjourned substantive hearing to October 14.
Unlike Fatolu, other 11 suspects, who were charged with sundry internet-related offences including obtaining money by false pretence, impersonation, being in possession of forged and fraudulent documents to defraud people, pleaded not guilty to the respective charges preferred against them.
Consequent upon their not-guilty plea, EFCC counsel, Dr. Ben Ubi, crave the court for an order to remand them in prison and fix dates for the hearing of their cases.
The court granted the remand prayer, and also fixed different dates for the hearings.
He fixed October 7 for the hearing of Fatami’, Adeleke, and Fadairo’s cases as he ordered that they should be remanded in the Ilesa prison.
Olaleye and Azkuka were to be remanded in Ado-Ekiti prison till October 9 when their cases would be opened for hearing.
For Abdullahi, Oyewunmi, and Bello, their hearings would hold on October 14. They were ordered to take shelter in Ilesa prison till then.
The judge equally fixed October 15 and 21 for hearing of Adesina and Owolabi’s respective cases while both would be housed in Ilesa prison pending the adjourned date.
Adebayo was, however, returned to the EFCC’s custody.