A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, presided over by Justice Fatun Riman, on Friday, October 11, 2019, remanded the duo of Victor Saviour Uko and Bassey Effiong Jackson in Uyo prison over land fraud.
The Uyo Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arraigned the defendants on a two-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N900,000.00.
The defendants were arrested at Ikom Iman junction, Uyo, on Friday, October 4, 2019, following a petition dated July 18, 2019, from one Mfonobong Sunday Jim alleging that sometime in December 2018, he was lured into purchasing a parcel of land situated at Ikot-Oku in Ikono village, Uyo, by the defendants and their cohorts who are currently at large namely; Daniel Udofia and Otu Saviour Uko.
The petitioner alleged that during negotiations on the land, Victor had presented himself as the owner of the land while Udofia claimed to be the village head of Ikono village and based on this assurance, he paid the said amount of money in cash to the defendants and their accomplice and a power of attorney was issued to him.
According to the petitioner, when he tried to develop the land, he was stopped by a traditional injunction placed on the land by the community and was informed that the land belonged to the comunity. It dawned on him that he had been defrauded.
Efforts made by him to get a refund of his money proved abortive.
One of the counts reads; “That you Victor Saviour Uko “M”, and Bassey Effiong Jackson “M” on or about the 19th day of December, 2018 at Ikot-Oku Ikono village, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire to obtain the sum of N900,000.00 (nine hundred thousand naira) only, by false pretence from one Mfonobong Sunday Jim, 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.”
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charge preferred against them.
In view of their pleas, Shehu Usman, the prosecution counsel, while praying the court for a trial date to enable the prosecution prove its case, urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody.
The defence counsel, David Akpanufom, attempted to make an oral application for bail but was vehemently opposed by Usman on the grounds that a formal written application ought to have been made available before the court, for record’s sake.
Replying, Akpanufom urged the court to discountenance the argument of the prosecution.
Having heard both sides, Justice Riman granted the application and urged the defence to make the oral application for bail.
After the application was made, the prosecution objected to the application on the grounds that the defendants had jumped administrative bail earlier granted to them by the Commission and prayed the court to refuse the application.
The matter was thereafter adjourned to Monday, October 14, 2019, for ruling on the bail application.
Victor Saviour Uko was earlier arraigned on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, and the matter was adjourned to today for hearing of bail application.