America-trained surgeon gets 27 years imprisonment for N35m fraud
Justice Abdulazeez Anka of a Federal High Court, Lagos, has convicted and sentenced an America-trained surgeon, John Adindu Nweke, to 27 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
He was sentenced, after the court found him guilty of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence, the charge brought against him by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Nweke, who also claimed to be one Senator Haruna Baba Musa, a senator from Sokoto State, was convicted and given jail terms.
The police had on October 8, 2016, brought Nweke alongside Igwe Stephen (now deceased) and Kelechi Chetachi Emenike (a cart pusher) to court on a five-count charge of conspiracy, money laundering, false representation and obtaining high-class phones valued N35 million from an online sales outlet, Konga.
Among the phones fraudulently received from Konga Online Shopping Limited include nine Samsung phones; two blackberry phones; five iPhones; three Sunny Xperia phones and two cameras.
They were also said to have issued dud cheques, which were returned due to insufficient funds.
The prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and Officer in Charge of Lagos PSFU’s Legal Department, told the court that the convict and others committed the offences between April and May 2015.
He said their offences are contrary to Sections 8(a) and 1(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud, and Section 15(1)(a)(ii)(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2004, as amended. Sections 17(b) of the money laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as amended in 2012.
The offence is also contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act, Cap. D. 11, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
During trial, one of them, Igwe Stephen, became deceased and the police amended the charge.
The prosecutor called several witnesses, which includes: the Investigation Police Officer (IPO), officials of Konga, Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Fidelity Bank Plc, and also tendered several documents.
Delivering judgment, Justice Anka, after legally analysing all the arguments of parties before him, absolved the second defendant in the charge, Kelechi Chetachi Emenike, the cart pusher, of all the charges.
Justice Anka, however, pronounced the America-trained medical doctor and surgeon, John Adindu Nweke guilty of conspiracy and obtaining the phones by false pretence, and consequently convicted him.
In his allocutus, the convict prayed the court for mercy, adding that he went into crime because he became frustrated when he could not get a job in Nigeria after being trained in America as a medical doctor and surgeon.
He said: “I went to America University of Caribbean on scholarship and trained as medical doctor and surgeon. When I came back to Nigeria, I went to the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, but I was told that my Certificates are not in line with Nigeria education system. I got frustrated and I met Stephen Aneke, who introduced me into the system after I treated her mummy of cancer through medicine.”
The convict urged the court to give him second chance, as he became remorseful and learned in a hard way.
The convict’s counsel, Mr. F. I. Okeke, joined his client to plead the court to have mercy on him as a first-time convict.
But Jackson urged the court to use his discretion in accordance with section 11 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Section 321 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
He prayed the court to order the convict to make restitution of the money to Zenith Bank Plc, as the bank had paid the lost N35 million back to Konga.
After listening to the plea of the convict and the counsel’s submissions, the court sentenced the convict to seven and 20 years imprisonment on the charges of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence.
Justice Anka, however, held that the sentences are to run concurrently and commenced from the day he was arrested.