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Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on June 19, 2023, adjourned till June 23, 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, Ano Farms Limited, under cross-examination by counsel for the first defendant, Greg Anumenechi, again, asserted that the said Fawaz forwarded the account details of the second defendant to him.

He testified further that he is an ex-banker who, during his time in the banking sector, dealt in FOREX(foreign exchange). During the proceedings, the defence sought to tender in evidence the original copies of two statements made by the witness to the EFCC in the course of the investigation.

However, the prosecution counsel, S.I. Suleiman, raised an objection to the admissibility of the statements.  “It is inadmissible, my lord, because it can only be for contradiction; and the defence has not pointed out any contradictions in his testimony,” he said. The objection was sustained by the court.

According to him, the account details of the second defendant were forwarded to him by Fawaz via WhatsApp.  He also affirmed that he was the one who applied that a lien to be placed on the said account in which the N950 million was credited into. “Yes, I’m the one that applied that a lien be made because I suspected the transaction, and I also initiated a recall. I did it through my bank,” he said.

He testified further that Fawaz told him that the account holder was angry that there was a lien on the account.  “Dr. Fawaz said his bosses were also angry, and that the second defendant had been instructed to return the money,” he said. He said he told Fawaz that if he received the equivalent in Dollars, as agreed, he would apply that the lien be taken off. He further noted that it was an audio conversation he had with Fawaz and that it was already before the court as an exhibit.  The case was adjourned till June 23, 2023, for the continuation of trial.

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