N37.8m scam: Fake Etisalat staff bags 404 years jail term

Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted and sentenced a job scammer, Emeka Anaga, to a total of 404 years imprisonment, for conspiracy and fraud.

The judge convicted and sentenced Anaga to 396 years of 12 years imprisonment on each of 33 out of 39 counts of the first charge, and eight years on another charge.

Both sentences of 396 years and eight years total 404 years, but the court held that the sentences will run concurrently, meaning Anaga shall only spend a maximum of 12 years in jail.

Justice Aluko gave the verdict while delivering judgment on a charge filed by the Abakaliki Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Anaga was brought before the Abakiliki, Ebonyi State division of the Federal High Court, in 2018 and 2019, where Justice Aluko was formerly sitting, on charges marked FHC/AI/8c/2019 and FHC/AI/62c/2018, on a 39 and six-count charges respectively.

In the charges, the convict and one Barrister Ken, said to be at large, were accused of introducing themselves to their victim, as a staff of Etisalat telecommunications Limited now 9Mobile, and that he was capable of securing them a contract to supply fuel to all telecommunication companies.

Particularly, he was accused of fraudulently obtaining various sums amounting to N37,805.000, from one Innocent Nwachukwu, Managing Director of IB. Nwachukwu Enterprises, under the pretext of securing a contract for him to install a mast and fuel at different locations in the country.

He was also accused of forging an MTN Identity card.In both charges, Anaga was alleged to have defrauded his victims of various sums running to millions of naira.

Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Ajobiewe, told the court that the offences contravened Sections 8(a); 1(c) and Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud-related offences Act, 2006.

It also offended Section 2(C) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004.

Anaga had pleaded not guilty to all the charges during his arraignment in 2018 and 2019, respectively and was admitted to bail in various terms, but unable to perfect same.

Delivering judgment on Wednesday via Zoom, Justice Aluko convicted Anaga of all 39 counts on the charge marked FHC/AI/8c/2019, except on counts one to four, 29 and 34.The judge also convicted him on count one of the charge marked FHC/AI/62c/2018.

Following the judge’s pronouncement, Anaga’s counsel O. Okorie pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing the defendant.

Okorie also appealed to the court, to consider the period his client had spent in custody and urged the court to deduct same from the jail terms.

After listening to the counsel’s submission, Justice Aluko while pronouncing the sentence on a charge marked FHC/AI/8c/2019, sentenced the convict to 12 years imprisonment each on 33 out of the 39 counts charge, totalling 396 years, without an option of fine.

The judge directed that the period Anaga had already spent in prison custody should be computed and deducted from the terms of imprisonment in respect of all the counts.

The judge further held that the sentences and terms of imprisonment to be served by the convict in all the counts should run concurrently and not consecutively.

The convict was then ordered to make restitution of the sum of N37.805 million.

On the charge marked FHC/AI/62c/2018, Justice Aluko held: “I have listened to the plea of allocutus made for the convict. I have taken into account all the aggravating and mitigating factors highlighted in sections 311, 401 and 416 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

“By the combined effect of the provision of sections 1 (c) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, the offence in count 1 of the charge attracts imprisonment for a term of not more than 20 years and not less than 7 years without the option of a fine.

“Having considered the plea of allocutus of the convict and taking into account all the factors and highlights emphasized in the provisions of sections 311, 401 and 416 of the ACJA, the convict is hereby sentenced to eight years imprisonment on count 1.

“The period the convict already spent in prison custody shall be computed and deducted from the terms of imprisonment he is meant to serve.”

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