By Tony Orilade
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Kaduna Zonal Office on Monday, March 23, 2020 arraigned one Alhaji Modu Ali Kotoko on a two-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, obtaining by false pretence and cheating before Justice Mohammed Tukur of the Kaduna State High Court.
Kotoko’s journey to the dock began when the Kaduna office of the Commission received a petition from one Abdullahi Mohammed Wuroji, Magaging Director, Waram Nigeria Limited, a Limited Liability Company in Kaduna.
The complainant alleged that in 2018, the defendant met him and introduced himself as an aide to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (a former Nigerian Vice President) and lured him to give him 13 brand new cars, shoes and clothes worth N65,680,000 (Sixty-five Million, Six Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira) and N34,800,000 (Thirty-four Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira) under pretence that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar requested for the cars and money to prosecute his 2019 Presidential election.
The complainant further alleged that upon believing the defendant, he decided to release the 13 brand new cars and goods all worth N100,480,000. However, the defendant bolted away and failed to pay.
It was later revealed that Atiku never requested for any cars or goods from Kotoko.
Count one reads: “That you, Alhaji Modu Kotoko, Managing Director of Absanajq Nigeria Limited, sometime in 2018, in Kaduna within the judicial Division of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud, obtained property to wit: 13 brand of cars, shoes and clothes worth the total sum of N65,680,000.00 (Sixty-five million, six hundred and eighty thousand naira) only from Abdullahi Mohammed Wuroji under false pretence that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON requested same to finance his 2019 Presidential General Election, a pretence you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offence Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charge.
Counsel for the EFCC, Y.J. Matiyak, thereafter, asked the court to fix a date for commencement of trial, and prayed that the defendant be remanded in the custody of Nigeria Correctional Service.
Counsel for the defendant, Sule Shuaibu, however pleaded with the court to grant his client bail to enable him prepare for his trial. But Matiyak opposed the bail application basing his argument on the magnitude of the offence.
Justice Tukur has adjourned until Wednesday, March 25, 2020 for ruling of bail application.
Tony Orilade is the acting head, media & publicity for EFCC