An Investigating Officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Daniel Danladi, has told Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos, how suspected fraudsters used Citi Bank and Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) documents to defraud a Kuwaiti businessman, Tawfeeq Al-Omar, of the sum of $4.8 million.
The suspected fraudsters, Victor Uadiale and Everest Nnaji, are facing a five-count charge of conspiracy, false pretence to obtain money by false pretences.
According to EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, Uadiale who goes by the alias Victor Emeka and Amaka Emeka committed the offences alongside Nnaji and one Ismaila Lawal (at large) between 1997 and 1998 in Lagos.
“Uadiale and Lawal between February 24 and March 19 1997, with intent to defraud obtained an aggregate sum of $93,250 from Tawfeeq Al-Omar, a Kuwaiti national.
“The funds were received under the false pretence that it represented the payment for 50,000 metric tonnes of Urea (phosphate fertilizer) which they claimed was procured from National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON).
“On August 11, 1997 in Lagos, Uadiale and Lawal fraudulently obtained $282,500 from Al-Omar under the false pretense that the money was payment for 75,000 metric tonnes of diesel procured from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
“Between Nov. 25 1997 and May 18, 2006 Uadiale and Nnaji in Lagos obtained an aggregate sum of $3.5 million from Al -Omar under the pretense that the funds was payment for bonny light crude diesel.
“Also, between January 17, 2007 and February 8, 2011, Uadiale solely obtained $945,000 from Al-Omar by falsely claiming that the money was payment for bonny light crude diesel”, Oyedepo said.
According to the anti-graft commission, the offence contravened the provisions of Section 1(3) and 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 1995.
Danladi while being led-in-evidence by th EFCC Cousel, Rotimi Oyedepo, at the resumption of trial, said investigation revealed that the two documents used to trick the victim were forged and fake.
Oyedepo recalled various exhibit from court dockets and asked the Investigating Officer to reveal the outcome of their Investigation on those exhibit.
The exhibit he recalled includes Citi Bank Statement of Account, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) documents, Electronic evidence of a phone call conversation between the victim and the suspects and others.
According to Danladi, finding of the anti-graft confirmed that defendants used account with Barclays Bank to perpetrate the fraud.
“When we approached the representative of the Bank in Nigeria he confirmed that he would not give third party details of the account domicile in their bank. He said it is the suspect who can authorised access to the account.
“Since we had agreement with the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) we then wrote letters to Nigeria Intelligence Financial Unit, Office Attorney General of the Federation.
“The NIFU in their reply to the EFCC confirmed that the transaction actually occurred a long time ago.
“Consequently, the Commission beamed its search lights on some of the MTN phone lines discovered in bundle of documents given to the by lawyer to the victim, used by the defendants to perpetrate the fraud.
“We wrote to the MTN to provide us with the call log of the numbers. Finding from the call log revealed that the phone was call from the same location one of the defendants was residing”, the witness said.
Meanwhile, Justice Dada has adjourned the matter to September 21 for the continuation of trial.