April 18, 2023

Alleged fraud: Court grants N1m bail to 72-yr-old ex-NASS member

Alleged fraud: Court grants N1m bail to 72-yr-old ex-NASS member

By Harris Emanuel

Uyo —Reprieve came the way of a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Sunday Udom, 72, who is currently in Ikot Ekpene prison over alleged fraud, running into millions of naira, yesterday, as a magistrate’s court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, granted him bail in the sum of N1 million.

It will be recalled that the accused was arrested by the Police for allegedly defrauding one Aniekan Etim of N31 million contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) (c) (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act, 2006.

It was gathered that the accused, who was chairman of Oruk Anam Local Government Area of the state, had in November, 2021, approached Aniekan Etim on the pretext that he was running a foundation that was partnering foreign donor agencies in London and Zurich and that the foundation has a contract with the Federal Government of Nigeria.

It was further gathered that the victim, Aniekan Etim, agreed to give Udom, who is also an estate surveyor and valuer, the money only to realise that he had been defrauded as Udom never refunded the money as promised and was not running any foundation.
In a bid to recover his money, Etim petitioned the Commissioner of Police and Udom was arrested after several evasions of police invitations and he was subsequently granted an administrative bail by the police but the 72-year-old jumped bail, which led to his rearrest and remand in the prison custody.

Udom, in his statement to the police, admitted running a charity foundation called Soni Udom Foundation with headquarters at 7, Umoessien Street, off Obio Imo Street, Uyo.

He also admitted knowing and collecting the said N31 million from Etim with a promise to refund first, N5 million and then N26 million at different times through Zenith Bank.

However, in a lengthy legal battle on Friday at Uyo Magistrate’s Court, the state Commissioner of Police represented by a legal officer from the Police Legal Department, State Command Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, noted that the foundation documents presented by Udom to get the money from Etim were fake with intention to defraud him through deceit and dishonesty.

Udom, represented by his counsel, Utibe Nwoko, argued that his client, aside being 72 years, has partial stroke and ia diabetic, thus should be admitted to bail by the court.

In her ruling, Magistrate Immaculate Idiong granted Udom bail in the sum of N1 million, with other stringent conditions.