EFCC charges 4 to court over N2m fraud in Uyo

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned a syndicate of four suspected land scammers, for alleged N2million fraud in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

They were arraigned on Wednesday, before Justice Maureen Onyetenu of a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The suspects; Aniefiok Isaac, Friday Inyang, Imoh Ndah and Udeme Stephen, were arraigned on five-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N2million.

The suspects were arrested on February 21, 2023, when one Dr. Aniekan Utuk petitioned the EFCC, alleging that he was lured by Inyang (the second defendant) into paying the sum of N2million for a parcel of land located at Afaha Atai, Off Ring Road 3, Ibesikpo Asutan LGA of Akwa Ibom State.

Utuk further alleged that, after making the payment, he engaged a Surveyor only to discover that the suspects sold a spurious property to him.

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He said efforts made to reach Inyang and Isaac, who both signed the ‘Power of Attorney’ as family head and eldest son respectively, proved abortive.

He said investigations into the matter revealed that the defendants transacted the business with fake names.

According to him, the supposed ‘Power of Attorney’ which they issued the petitioner was forged, as the original owner of the said plot of land died in 2018.

Charge against the defendants

One of the count charges reads: “That you, Aniefiok Isaac, Friday Inyang, Imoh Asuquo, Udeme Stephen, Baba (now at large), Obong Okon Oku (now at large) and Eno-Obong Clement Etim (now at large) on or about February 1, 2023, in Akwa Ibom State, within the jurisdiction of this court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N2million only from Aniekan Patrick Utuk via Bassey Anthony Okon’s First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Account No: 1001697942, under the pretence that the said money is for the sale of a parcel of land purported to belong to Sir Anthony Bassey, the pretence which 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, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to them.

Prosecution prays court to remand defendants

Consequent to their pleas, counsel to EFCC, Enobong Ubokudom, prayed the court to remand the defendants at the Correctional Centre and fix a date for trial to enable the prosecution prove its case.

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However, defence counsel, E. W. Oseng, made an oral application for bail on the grounds that the alleged offences were bailable.

EFCC counsel, Ubokudom, however, opposed the application.

After listening to both counsel, Justice Onyetenu ordered that the defendants be remanded at the Uyo prison, pending the determination of their bail application.

The court adjourned further in the hearing to October 10, 2023.

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