Nigerian-American surgeon jailed 27 years for fraud

Court

Justice Abdulazeez Anka of a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State, has sentenced a Nigerian-American-trained surgeon, John Nweke, to 27 years imprisonment for fraudulently obtaining goods from Konga Online Shopping Limited.

The goods reportedly include 19 expensive smartphones and two cameras valued at N35m.

The spokesperson for the Police Special Fraud Unit in Lagos State, Eyitayo Johnson, in a statement on Wednesday, said the defendants were arraigned in 2016 before honourable Justice Abdulazeez Anka of Federal High Court, Ikoyi, for conspiracy and obtaining property under false pretences.

He said, “They were charged under the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 14 of 2006. On February 14, 2022, the Honourable Court found the defendant guilty as charged and sentenced him to 27 years imprisonment without an option of fine and ordered him to pay the money back to the victim of the fraud as restitution. The two accomplices, Stephen AnekeIgwe (now deceased) and Kelechi Emenike, were later discharged.”

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The spokesperson, in another development, said an appellant and four others were successfully prosecuted in 2019 before Honourable Justice I. N. Buba of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, for conspiracy and obtaining the sum of N187m from one Alh. Tayo Adeitan, under false pretenses.

He said, “The appellant was convicted, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment without an option of fine and ordered to pay back the money to the victim of the fraud, as restitution.

“In the same year, 2019, he filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence. On February 4, 2022, the Court of Appeal upheld the argument of the Police Special Fraud Unit, dismissed the appeal and affirmed the conviction and sentence.”

Similarly, the PPRO said another appellant – a corporate entity owned and operated by one Alh. Suleiman Yerima (now deceased), was used as a front to fraudulently obtain the sum of N157m from Dashad Bureau De Change Ltd, under false pretences.

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Johnson said in 2019, the Federal High Court convicted the company and sentenced it to a winding-up with all its assets/property forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, as restitution.

“In 2020, the company appealed the judgement. However, on February 4, 2022, the Court of Appeal, Lagos, upheld the arguments of the Police Special Fraud Unit, dismissed the said appeal and affirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant,” he said.

The PPRO also said another appellant and its alter-egos, MfonIni Unam and Uwem Antia, conspired together and used the appellant as a sham company to obtain the sum of N370m from Alh. Tayo Adeitan, also under false pretenses.

He stated that the company was convicted and sentenced to a winding-up while all its assets were forfeited to the Federal Government, as restitution.

Johnson added, “In 2020, the company appealed the judgement. On February 18, 2022, the Court of Appeal, Lagos, upheld Police Special Fraud Unit arguments against the appeal, dismissed the same and unanimously affirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant.”

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