An Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, on Thursday sentenced a 74-year-old Ghanaian, Keinde Dodo, to five years imprisonment for pretending to be a lawyer and representing litigants in courts in Nigeria for 15 years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Magistrate O.O. Martins did not give Dodo an option of fine but sentenced him to jail with hard labour.
Martins held that the Ghanaian pleaded guilty to the five-count charge on arraignment, and that evidence before the court showed that he committed the crimes.
“The accused is hereby sentenced to one year imprisonment on each count with hard labour and without option of fine,” she said.
The sentences are, however, to run concurrently.
The septuagenarian pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, forgery, stealing, escape from lawful custody and falsely representing litigants, on February 10.
“My mother is from Ilesha in Osun State and my father is a Ghanaian. I have been impersonating as a lawyer and representing people in courts for the past 15 years,” Dodo had told the court.
During Thursday’s proceedings, the prosecutor, ASP Goddy Emenogor, Dodo was arrested following a complaint by one Mr Daniel Onwu that the fake lawyer defrauded him of N1 million.
“Onwu alleged that Dodo, on June 13, 2011, approached him and identified himself as a legal practitioner and that he had a parcel of land to sell to him.
“Onwu said he believed the accused after he had showed him some documents on the land situated at plot 29 Block 78, Lekki, to back up his claim.
“Based on that, the complainant said he gave him N1 million in advance, leaving a balance of N79 million,” Emenogor said.
According to the police prosecutor, while Onwu was planning to pay the balance, he got information that the sale was not genuine and that Dodo was a fake lawyer.
He said that the Ghanaian was promptly arrested while waiting to collect the balance.
The prosecutor added that Dodo escaped from police custody, but was re-arrested at a hideout on February 8.
Emenogor noted that the offences contravened Sections 106 (a), 285(5), 363, 378(1) and 410 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2011. (NAN)