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Court sentences couple to 40 years over N53m fraud

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The Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, has sentenced a couple, Ebiesuwa Abayomi Fredrick and his wife, Tinuola Idayat Oyegunle, to 40 years imprisonment each.

Justice Joyce Abdulmalik, yesterday, found them guilty on all four counts of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence brought against them by Ibadan Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The couple, in a classic advance fee fraud scheme, fleeced one Dunni Olateru Olagbegi N53, 713, 260.00 in cash and bank transfer through a spiritual cleansing gambit to avoid calamitous consequence of mysterious sudden death having heard conversation by a syndicate about a Ghana-Must-Go bag stuffed with United States dollar bills in the boot of a car. She was also tricked into bringing funds to cleanse the supposed U.S. dollar bills.

The victim had sometimes in May 2013, boarded a taxi cab with three other passengers who, unknown to her, were members of a syndicate of fraudsters. As soon as she entered the vehicle, she heard the three other supposed passengers arguing about a Ghana-Must-Go bag filled with US Dollars in the boot of the car.

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Moment later, one of the syndicate member told her that she must be cleansed to avert sudden and mysterious death having heard their discussion. She was taken to an unknown destination where she subsequently started giving the defendants, and the other members of the syndicate (at large) various sums in cash and bank payment totalling N53, 713, 260.00.

In his judgment, Justice Abdulmalik found the couple guilty of the four-count charge and sentenced them to 10 years imprisonment on each of the four counts.

However, while Ebiesuwa’s prison term takes effect from June 19, 2017 when he was arrested, Tinuola’s time in the Custodial Centre will start from May 26, 2017 when she was arrested.

The judge also ordered that Victoria East Park Hotel & Suite “be sold and the proceed, if not up to N53,713,260.00, be returned to the victim in the case and if it exceeds, the balance be paid into the Federal Government’s account.” The sentences are to run concurrently.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Ebiesuwa Abayomi Fredrick, Tinuola Idayat Oyegunle and (others still at large) between March 28, 2014 at Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, with intent to defraud did obtain by false pretence N9,352,100.00 from one Dunni Olateru-Olagbegi under the pretence that the money was to be used to purchase instrument for the cleansing of United States of American Dollar notes, which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) & (2) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2016.

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