•Forfeits Company To Lagos State

Couple jailed for buying stolen phones

By Onozure Dania

Lagos – A couple Mr Ignatius Onuorah and his wife Peace were yesterday sentenced to 13 years and six months imprisonment, by a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, for buying stolen phones worth N50million.

Justice Lawal Akapo, also convicted and sentenced alongside the couple a sales clerk, Ada Okoro, who stole the phones from her boss’ stores.

Justice Akapo, ordered that the couple’s company, Becco Systems Limited, which warehoused the stolen phones be wound up and forfeited to Lagos State government.

The judge handed down the verdict while delivering judgment in a five-count criminal charge of conspiracy, stealing, possession of stolen goods and obtaining money under false pretence, filed against them by Lagos State.

The couple, and the salesclerk, were arraigned before the court on an amended charge marked ID/27/2011.
The offences committed is punishable under Sections 422, 390(a), 427, 412 and 430(1) of the Criminal Code Cap. C.17, Vol. 2, Laws of Lagos State 2003.

The convicts pleaded not guilty to the charges and they were admitted to bail on various terms.

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During their trial, the prosecuting counsel, A. M. Aderibigbe informed the court through his witnesses, of how the convicted salesclerk, Ada Okoro stole over 76 phones from her boss store and fraudulently sold them to the couple.

The prosecution called six witnesses and tendered the 76 phones stolen, which were recovered from the couple’s store located at Computer Village, MegaCity, Ikeja.

The prosecution also tendered the convicts’ statements and that of Barrister Chike Onuwanu, who is compliant in the charge.

One of the prosecution witnesses, Mr. Austine Oshobade, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), who narrated to court, how the convict’s heinous act was unravelled and how the 76 stolen phones were recovered from the couple’s store.

The couple, in their defence, told the court that they bought the phones from the salesclerk, who did not give them receipt or invoice.

While delivering judgment, Justice Akapo, evaluated parties argument on the charge and held that the prosecution was able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts.

He said the prosecution was able to prove the counts of conspiracy to defraud, stealing and receiving of stolen property against Mrs. Onuorah and the Salesclerk.

The judge also pronounced that the prosecution successfully proved the case of receiving stolen item against Mrs. Onuorah. And that the case of being in possession of stolen items have been established against the couple.

Justice Akapo however acquitted and discharged the convicts of the charge of obtaining under false pretence, on the ground that the prosecution failed to establish the charge against them.

Consequently, the judge sentenced Peace Onuorah and the Salesclerk to five years each on counts one and two.
Mrs. Onuorah was also sentenced to three years imprisonment on count three, receiving of stolen items.

While she was sentenced to six months imprisonment with her husband, for being in possession of stolen items.

Justice Akapo also ordered that the couple’s company, Becco Systems Limited, which warehoused the stolen phones be wound up and forfeited to Lagos State government.

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