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March 4, 2024

Court convicts businesswoman of N47.6m fraud

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By Adenike Ayodele

An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday convicted a businesswoman, Blessing Adanu, for defrauding a woman of N47.6 million on the pretext of supplying her agricultural produce.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adanu traded under the name of Emerald Multipurpose Cooperative Society to defraud her victim in a purported agribusiness scheme.

Justice Mojisola Dada convicted Adanu on a two-count charge of obtaining money by false pretences and stealing.

Dada held that evidence before the court, including statements made by the convict during interrogations, proved all the essential ingredients of obtaining by false pretences and stealing.

Dada dismissed the argument of defence that the charges emanated from contractual disputes that were civil in nature.

“As noted by the prosecution, most economic and financial crimes arose from transactions that had a semblance of contractual transactions.

“But along the line, a lot of factors come in to derail the smooth sail when the heart of man begins to dialogue with the devil to outsmart another person and he succumbs to it.

“The defendant’s oral testimony in court that the agribusiness was affected by flooding and Fulani herdsmen attack were an afterthought.

“She wanted to be living big at the expense of other people without counting the cost.

“Although the defendant seems to have absconded, having jumped bail graciously granted her by this court, the truth is that she cannot run away from justice.

“From the foregoing, therefore, evidence before the court clearly shows that the case against the defendant has been proved beyond every reasonable doubt on the two counts of obtaining the sum of N47.6 million under false pretences.

“I hereby declare the defendant guilty as charged on the two counts,” Dada said.

NAN reports that the convict’s sentencing was, however, suspended in accordance with Sections 321 and 352 (5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) Act, 2015, in conjunction with Section 278 (1) of the ACJ Law 2015, pending when she will be apprehended and brought before the court.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Samuel Daji, had called three witnesses through whom several pieces documentary evidence were tendered and admitted against the convict.

Defence counsel, Mr Olarewaju Ajanaku, called four witnesses, including the defendant, who testified as the fourth witness.

After the closure of the case of the defence on June 30, 2022, the defendant stopped appearing in court.

Based on the above, Daji, on Nov.3, 2022, applied to the court to revoke the bail of the defendant and allow the trial to continue in her absence.

There was no objection from defence.

Dada subsequently revoked the bail and issued a bench warrant for Adanu arrest.

The judge ordered that the EFCC should declare her wanted.

EFCC had said that the businesswoman committed the offences between Nov.30, 2018, and Jan. 11, 2019, in Lagos.

It said that she dishonestly stole and converted to her own use, a cumulative sum of N47.6 million from Mrs Favour Nnamani, in contravention of Sections 1(1) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and Section and 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chidi Opara/Ijeoma Popoola

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