The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday said it arraigned one Sirajo Bakoji in two separate courts on the same day.
According to a statement from the EFCC, the suspect was arraigned before Justice M. Nasir of the FCT High Court, Jabi on two counts bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of £19,000, and for yet another N25 million fraud charge before Justice Yusuf Halilu of a High Court of the FCT in Maitama, on Tuesday.
He allegedly received the monies under the guise of being a Bureau de Change operator, convincing his victims that he would convert the monies to other currencies as requested and remit equivalents of the same to them.
The suspect was said to have become incommunicado after receiving the funds.
He was eventually apprehended by EFCC operatives at a bank in Mubi, Adamawa State.
Count one of the charges before Justice Nasir read: “That you, Sirajo Musa Bakoji, Alhaji M. R. Musa (now at large) and Mary Musa (now at large), sometime in September 2015, at Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja did conspire to do an illegal act to wit: obtaining money by false pretence from one Umar Yakubu Turare and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.
The charge before Justice Halilu also read: “That you, Sirajo Musa Bakoji, on or about 9th of January, 2016 in Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did dishonestly convert the sum of N25,467,410 (Twenty Five Million, Four Hundred and Sixty Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Ten Naira) only to your own use which sum was entrusted to you by one Alhaji Hassan Gambo to convert to United States Dollars and you thereby committed criminal breach of trust in respect of he said sum contrary to section 311 of the Penal Code Laws of the Federation (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under section 312 of the same Act”.
Upon arraignment before both judges, the suspect pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to him, with the help of Hausa interpreters.
In view of the plea of the defendant, prosecuting counsel, Maryam Ahmed, applied that the defendant be remanded in prison custody subject to the determination of bail application filed by the defence on Friday last week and served on the prosecution on Tuesday.
Counsel for the defendant, Francis Adejo, requested for a leave of court to move the bail application of his client.
Justice Nasir, however, ruled that the application was not ripe for hearing and ordered that he should be remanded in prison till February 5 when the court would hear his bail application.
Before Justice Halilu, the prosecuting counsel, Farouk Abdallah, applied for an adjournment pending the defence’s application for bail.
Sirajo’s counsel, Saida Abimbola, then sought leave of court to make an oral application for bail, at which point, Abdallah informed the court that Justice Nasir had already ordered that he should be remanded in prison.
Justice Halilu, thereafter, adjourned the matter till February 12, for the prosecution to open its case.
He asked the defence to make a formal application for bail and ordered that Sirajo should be remanded in prison pending his bail application.