The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Kaduna zonal office, has arraigned the duo of Abdullahi Badarudeen and Umar Muhammed Fankolo before Justice Z.B Abubakar of Federal High Court Kaduna, on two-count charges bordering on Conspiracy and Advance Fee Fraud to the tune of N 18,500,000 (Eighteen Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira).
Dele Oyewale, Head, Media & Publicity for the anti-graft agency stated in a press statement that their arraignment followed a petition reported at the Kaduna Zonal Office of the EFCC. One of the defendants, Badarudeen, is a legal practitioner and owner of First Class Legal Service and Consultancy in Kaduna.
He allegedly connived with Fankolo, sometimes in February 2019, by luring the petitioner into making payments for a property, located at No.35B SMC quarters College road, Kaduna valued at N 18,500,000 (Eighteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira). The defendants allegedly advertised the sale of the property and the petitioner paid for it in two tranches after negotiations have been concluded by all parties involved.
The petitioner said that he made the payments from his account into the bank accounts of the defendants, domiciled in one of the new generation banks, and investigations revealed that the defendants made withdrawals from the money in bits for their personal use.
Trouble started when the petitioner made moves to begin work on the said property and discovered that someone else had already occupied it and upon further enquiries, he found out that Badarudeen and his cohort had duped him.
One of the count charges read: “that you, Abdullahi Badarudeen ‘M’ and one other sometimes in February, 2019 in Kaduna within the judicial division of this honourable court with the intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N 18,500,000 ( Eighteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) from one Alh Idris Isa Funtua under the false pretence of selling a house located at SMC Quarters, Angwar Dosa, Kaduna to him, a pretence you knew is false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when read to them. Prosecuting counsels, led by J. A Ojogbane, urged the court not to grant the 1st defendant bail based on the fact that he did not honour the conditions upon which he was originally granted bail. The 2nd defendant did not file an application for bail in good time in order for the prosecution to respond accordingly.
Justice Abubakar ruled that the defendants be remanded in EFCC custody and adjourned the matter to July 9, 2020 for hearing on the 2nd defendant’s bail application.