By Moji Eniola
‘For failure to prove its case’, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has lost another case of fraud in Lagos against a 52 year old businessman after 6 years of prosecution.
This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari in April charged the EFCC to stop losing cases while former President Olusegun Obasanjo blamed the commission for not hiring ‘good lawyer’
Grant Samuel who was arraigned by the EFCC on a N6 million fraud, was on Friday discharged and acquitted on the orders of an Ikeja High Court.
Samuel, who lives at No. 21, Sowemimo St., Ikeja, was alleged to have committed the offence sometime in April 2012 in Lagos by converting N6 million belonging to Mr Babatunde Banjo, the complainant, to personal use.
Delivering her judgment, Justice Raliatu Adebiyi, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission failed to prove the one-count charge of stealing brought against Samuel.
“The defendant’s statement at the EFCC is not a confessional statement in law; the prosecution in this case failed to establish the three ingredients of stealing.
“The defendant is found not guilty of the offence as charged and he is hereby discharged and acquitted,” she ruled.
In reaction to the judgment, Mr V. Nwana, the counsel to the defendant, exclaimed “Hallelujah!”.
`Thank you Your Lordship for this judgment, this has proved that the court indeed is the last hope of the common man.
“God bless you My Lord.”
According to Miss O. Oddiri, the prosecuting counsel to the EFCC, Samuel committed the offence sometime in April 2012.
She said he allegedly approached Banjo, a businessman, who sells used cars imported from U.S. that he had some dollars to
sell to him and that the the dollars were not from an illegal source.
Banjo allegedly paid N3.5 million to Samuel in exchange for 25,000 dollars which was paid into the account of Kehinde Talabi, Banjo’s brother, who resides in the United States.
The dollars were deposited into the account by one Ivy, Samuel’s girlfriend, who also lives in the United States.
The anti-graft agency alleged that there was a second transaction in March 2012 in which N6 million was paid into the defendant’s UBA account by Banjo in exchange for 47,500 dollars.
“Mr Dennis Bierwith, an investigator from Citibank in the United States, however, contacted Talabi that a portion of the 47,500 dollars paid into his account was fraudulently obtained.
“Bierwith alleged that 8,500 dollars of the 47,500 dollars paid into Talabi’s account was from the hacked bank account of an European customer of Citibank.
“Talabi immediately had to refund 8,500 dollars to Citibank to avoid being prosecuted for fraud,” Oddiri said.
According to the EFCC, Ivy the alleged girlfriend of Samuel could not been traced and Banjo has not got a refund of the N6 million paid into Samuel’s account for the second transaction.