Alleged N950m Fraud: Court Adjourns Trial of Young Alhaji Foundation Promoter Till June 19

June 13, 2023
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Alhaji-Usman-Abubakar

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Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on June 13, 2023, adjourned till June 19, 2023 further hearing in the trial of one Alhaji Usman Abubakar over an alleged N950m fraud.

Abubakar, alongside Young Alhaji Foundation, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a five-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence and stealing to the tune of N950 million.

One of the counts reads: “Alhaji Usman Abubakar, Young Alhaji Foundation and Dr. Abu Omer Fawaz (at large), sometime in September 2022, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to obtain the sum of N950, 000,000 from Ano Farms Limited under the false pretence that you had the Dollar equivalent of the said sum, which pretence you knew to be false.”

Another count reads: “Alhaji Usman Abubakar and Young Alhaji Foundation, on the 20th of September 2022, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, attempted to dishonestly convert the sum of N180,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Eighty Million Naira), property of Ano Farms Limited to the use of Abdullahi Mohammed.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when he was first arraigned on February 22, 2023.

At today’s proceedings, the first prosecution witness, PW1, Adeniyi Oyewole, Managing Director of Ano Farms Limited, under cross-examination by counsel to the first defendant, Olatubosun Olanipekun, SAN, again re-affirmed his testimony that Fawaz linked him up with the defendant and that he, thereafter, transferred the money to him.

Oyewole had, on May 2, 2023, while being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, narrated how his paths crossed that of the defendant when he was in search of foreign exchange “to facilitate importation”.

He had testified that he got to know Abubakar, through one Dr. Abu Fawaz, who lives in Ghana, and that he transferred the N950 million to the bank account of Young Alhaji Foundation, which was forwarded to him by Fawaz.

During further cross-examination, he asserted that the said account belonged to Young Alhaji Foundation.

He also testified that he also travelled to Ghana to meet Fawaz one-on-one.

He added that when the Dollar equivalent was not forthcoming, Fawaz told him that Young Alhaji had been instructed to return the funds.

“This I communicated to Young Alhaji over the phone, and to prove that I was in Ghana, I snapped and sent my boarding pass to him via WhatsApp,” he said.

He, again, asserted, under cross-examination, that Alhaji Usman told him that he was “expecting the money as debt owed him by an organisation in Australia; that they owed him $12 million for a transaction he did in 2019 and that the balance was going to be paid to him in Guinea Conakry, where he has a goldmine”.

According to him, Abubakar “was angered about the lien placed on his account”.

Earlier in the course of the proceedings, the counsel for the second defendant, G.C. Ugwunweze, had informed the court of his application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

“We filed a notice of preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter,” he said.

Responding, Oyedepo, who acknowledged service on the prosecution in the courtroom by 9.42am, urged the court to discountenance it.

“My submission is that this application cannot truncate the hearing of this case. We have left the primitive age, where such objections affect trials,” he said.

Olanipekun had also earlier in the course of proceedings raised much dust that documents given to the defence by the prosecution had no evidence of payment as part of procedures for certification of public documents, in spite of arguments that the EFCC, as a government agency, could not pay itself for certifying its own documents.

After several arguments from both parties, the prosecution counsel obliged him with the original copies in open court, as ordered by the court, for him to cross-examine the witness.

Justice Dada adjourned the case till June 19, 2023.

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