By Emmanuel Udom
Justice Bello Duwale of the Sokoto State High Court, sitting in Sokoto on Thursday, April 1, 2021, convicted and sentenced a fraudster, Hamzat Muhammad Bashar to 70 years imprisonment without an option of fine for N29, 865, 000.00 by false pretence.
Wilson Uwujaren, head, media & publicity, for the agency said he was arraigned, by the Sokoto Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on November 7, 2019 on a 12-count amended charge, bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you Hamzat Bashar Muhammad, Hindatu Bashar (now at large) and Hamga Investment Resources Limited sometimes within the months of June to December, 2018 at Sokoto within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the total sum of N23,760,000 from Hadiza Aliyu (for herself and other victims) when you falsely represented yourselves to her, to be running a genuine business investment of Gold and Herbs, a pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges, which necessitated his trial.
Prosecution counsel, Habila Jonathan, in the course of the trial called ten witnesses and tendered several documents to prove the case against the defendant..
Delivering judgment today, Justice Duwale ruled that the EFCC has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt; convicted the defendant on counts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12, and sentenced him to seven years in prison without an option of fine on each of the 10 counts, which will run concurrently.
In addition, the Judge ordered the convict to restitute the total sum of N29, 135,000 to the victims through the EFCC.
Basha’s trouble started when the Commission received a petition by one Imran Ahmed and several other victims, alleging he had defrauded them to the tune of N29, 865,000.00 in a phony investment scheme in which they were promised 20 percent returns on investment every month and dividends at the end of the year.
But after investing various sums of money, they neither received the 20% returns nor got any dividends.