By Innocent Anaba
Nollywood film marketer, Olajide Oluwaseun Kazeem, alias Seun Egbede and his accomplice, Oyekan Ayomide, were, yesterday, rearraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Meanwhile, the prosecution also informed the court that it was bringing all 36 Bureau De Change operators allegedly defrauded by Kazeem, Ayomide to give evidence against them.
Egbegbe and Ayomide, were first arraigned before the court on February 10, 2017, for defrauding the BDC Operators of the sum of N39, 098, 100: $90,000; and £12,550.
The accused persons were alleged to have between 2016 and 2017, swindling the 36 BDC operators of various sums both in local and foreign currencies.
Egbegbe and Ayomide had, pleaded not guilty and Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo had on February 24 granted each of them a bail of N5m, with two sureties, one of whom must be a Grade Level 16 Civil Servant in either Lagos or Federal establishment.
At the resumed hearing in the matter, yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr. Innocent Anyigor, of the state Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCIID, Panti-Yaba, informed the court that the charge sheet had been amended and the counts increased from 36 to 40.
He urged the court to allow the amended charges to be read to the accused for the purpose of re-taking their plea.
The judge granted the prayer and Egbegbe and Ayomide were re-arraigned and pleaded not guilty.
Following the re-arraignment, the defence counsel, Mrs. A. Gbadamosi, urged the judge to vary the bail conditions granted Ayomide because he was only involved in three out of the 40 counts.
In response, the judge, Justice Oguntoyinbo, said the prayer would be considered later.
The prosecutor told the court that it has 30 witnesses in court and ready for commencement of trial.
The defence counsel also said she was ready for trial.
But the judge noted that the prosecution witnesses in court were the victims, who the defendants allegedly defrauded and not the investigating officers who investigated the case.
She said that she preferred the IPOs to testify first before the BDC operators, on the grounds that the IPOs could be transferred out of Lagos anytime.
“I prefer that anybody in the police that will give evidence in this matter should testify first. They might be transferred and I don’t want to be running after anybody. That’s why I’m not going to start with them (BDC operators) now. I want to take the police first,” the judge said.
She, therefore, adjourned till March 24, 2017 for commencement of trial.
In the amended charge, Egbegbe and Ayomide were accused of defrauding the BDC operators mostly by falsely representing to the victims that they had foreign currencies to sell to the BDC operators.
The police alleged that on February 2, 2017, Egbegbe and Ayomide fraudulently obtained the sums of N2.45m and £,3,000 from one Alhaji Isa Adamu in Lagos, under the guise that they wanted to buy both the Naira and buy the Pound Sterling.
The other victims of the alleged frauds by Egbede were Mohammed Sanni, who was allegedly defrauded of N2.46m on January 1, 2017, Jubrila Ado, allegedly defrauded of N1.257m on September 9, 2016; Hassan Amodu, allegedly defrauded of N600,000 in January 2016; Sanni Hassan, defrauded off N1.43 and £2,750 in August 2015; Saidi Abdullahi, defrauded of N700,000 on April 18, 2016; Atairu Abdullahi, defrauded of N1m on June 23, 2016; and Abdullahi Babadisa, defrauded of N650,000 in January 2016.
Others are Abdurawan Hassan who allegedly lost N1.46m to Egbede on January 1, 2017; Suraju Garuba, who lost N850,000 in July 2016; Abdullahi Mumini, who lost N2.15m in September 2016; Garuba Hassan, who lost N700,000 on January 10, 2016 and Sanni Mohammed, who lost N1.89m on January 29, 2017.
Also allegedly swindled by accused were Barowo Abdullahi, N2.6m; Yahu Alidu, N1.75m; Tairu Musa, N2m; Mohammed Bello, $300; Mohammed Usman, N450,500; Suleiman Shehu, N1.276m; Ahmadu Abda, N2m; Nairu Musa, N1.007m; and Sanni Mohammed, who lost N1.6m and $3,000.
Others are Umaru Haruna, N1.7m; Abubakar Musa, $4,000; Abdulrasaq Sanni, N1.7m; and Abdullahi Babatunde, who lost N2.770m.
The police prosecutor, said Egbede and Ayomide Offences are contrary to Section 8 of the Addvance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006, and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same.