EFCC arraigns three for stealing dead men’s N141.7m

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday arraigned three suspects before Justice Lawal Akapo of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, for allegedly stealing from the dead.

EFCC said Mohammed Lawan (65), Raphael Okomoda (50), and Adegbdsan Theophilus (38), stole N141.7m from Alhaji Shande Dzungwe and Alhaji Koto, who were both deceased, by selling their shares.

The suspects were arraigned on different criminal counts bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false presences, stealing, impersonation, forgery, using false document and money laundering.

While Lawan was charged with 19 counts, Okomoda and Theophilus were charged with seven counts each.

The EFCC said the suspects were arrested following a report of a fraudulent sale of shares of two deceased shareholders who had shares in several blue chip companies including Agip Nigeria Limited, Total Oil, Union Bank Nigeria Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc and Nigeria Breweries Plc.

“The stocks were fraudulently claimed, converted and sold by the three defendants.

“Lawan forged the identity cards, driving licences, school certificates and international passports of both Dzungwe and Koto, to perfect the scam.

“The total value of shares converted and sold by the three defendants was N141,652,951,” the EFCC said.

The charges read in part, “That you, Mohammed Lawan (alias Shande Ako Dzungwe), Raphael Okomoda, Adegbesan Theophilus, and others (still at large) on or about the 16th day of May, 2013 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain the sum of N11, 493,137.83 property of late Shande Ako Dzungwe”.

“That you, Mohammed Lawan (alias Isa Koto) on or about the 16th of May, 2013 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud, posed as Alhaji Isa Koto and fraudulently instructed Fidelity Security Limited to sell 216,625 units of Guinness Plc shares valued at N44, 092, 048 and transferred the proceeds into a Fidelity Bank account you opened in the name of the said Alhaji Isa Koto and withdrew same.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them.

The prosecuting counsel, Fadike Giwa, prayed the court for a trial date and the remand of the defendants in custody.

Giwa urged the court to deny the defendants bail in favour of accelerated hearing of the suit.

Counsel to the three defendants, J. H. Bashir, however, urged the court to grant the defendants bail because of their poor health condition.

Akapo adjourned the case till July 8, 2014 for ruling on bail applications and ordered that the defendants be remanded in the Kirikiri Maximum Prison.

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