Court sentences fake Army General to seven years imprisonment for fraud, impersonation
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday, convicted and sentenced a fake Army General, Abiodun Bolarinwa to seven years imprisonment.
The judge sentenced Bolarinwa to seven years imprisonment without the option of a fine, after he pleaded guilty to the 13-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He was charged with impersonation and defrauding the victim the sum of N266.5 million
Bolarinwa, 50, was shedding tears in the dock as he pleaded guilty to all the counts read to him.
The anti-graft had alleged that the convict obtained money by false pretence, forgery of documents and possession of documents containing false pretence to the tune of N266,500,000.
His offences are contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006; Section 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 and Section six of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006, respectively.
He had posed as a General in the Nigerian Army, accused by the EFCC of making false representations to the complainant, Kodef Clearing Resources, that President Muhammadu Buhari, had shortlisted him and one other to be appointed as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), and that he needed a short grant to “press and process the appointment.”
He was alleged of forged a letter of appointment as COAS, purportedly signed by the President and showed the same to the victim to further prove his claim.
Abiodun was also accused of forging a Nigeria Army Identity card with serial number; 387140, claiming the same to have been issued to him from the Nigerian Army, and another forged Letter of Recommendation purportedly signed by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, recommending one Adebayo Rasaq Adebola, with recruitment No 77RRI/OG/556/0032555 and Adeogun Emmanuel Adesola with recruitment No 77RRI/OG/352/0123751 for employment into the Nigeria Army.
He was further accused of being in possession of a forged certificate of confirmation dated November 7, 2018, purporting the same to have emanated from the Nigerian Army Headquarters.
He was also accused of being in possession of a forged document titled: Letter of Authorization, purportedly signed by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo permitting De-Rock Maritime Resource L.T.D. to enter Apapa Port freely and load their truck.
During the trial, EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, called six witnesses and tendered several documents as exhibit.
However, when the case was called yesterday, the defendant informed the court that he wants to change his plea from not guilty to guilty. So, he was re-arraigned on 13 counts.
Oyedepo prayed the court to convict the defendant as charged. He said that the court should consider the gravity of the offence and that victims have lost huge money and some properties to the convict.
“Whatever the victim can get because the convict was charged for defrauding the victim of N266.5 million. His account in First bank, which he used to defraud should be closed. We have shown in our exhibit G that the defendant’s name, while he was opening the account bears Hassan Kareem Ayinde, he later approached the bank to change his name to Abiodun Bolarinwa. The document forged was purported to be signed by the President,” he said
In his allocutus, the defendant’s counsel, Otunba Ogunleye, urged the court to temper justice with mercy.
“The defendant is a middle –aged man of 50 years. He has a wife and several challenges as well as extended family members under his care.
“The defendant has been remorseful and considering his age, we urged the court to be inspired by the provision provided by the charge he pleaded to. The purpose of the sentence is to serve as deterrent to others. I urge the court in the spirit of showing mercy, to temper justice with mercy,” he pleaded.
Delivering the judgment, the judge said she intends to send strong message to scammers giving the country a bad name. She noted that the convict showed the length scammers can go to defraud innocent victims.
“The defendant portrayed himself to be an Army General, he forged the signature of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and current president Muhammadu Buhari , in defrauding and obtaining by false pretences of the victim.
“He so perfected the scam by the level of his education, that one wonders, if such individual should be allowed to walk scot free. It is so sad that people like this have given our dear country a bad name.
“I therefore sentence you, Abiodun Olusegun Abolarinwa, to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine, “ the judge held.
The judge further ordered that,” the convict pays the victim, N20 million, while the four vehicles: Black Range Rover, Black BMW car, Black Toyota Land Cruiser, and a white Toyota Hilux marked: Lagos KTU 985 ET recovered from him, be forfeited.
“His property situated at No 1A, Joke Ayo Street, Alagbado, be also forfeited and his First Bank account No 3050622693 opened with the name Hassan Kareem Ayinde and later change to Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun, which he used in perpetrating the fraud be closed.”