Wednesday, 6 March 2019

EFCC Arraigns Businesswoman For Allegedly Defrauding Lawyer Of N65m In Lagos

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Tuesday, arraigned a businesswoman, Linda Mabi-Praise, before a Lagos State Special Offences Court for allegedly defrauding a lawyer, Unoma Omo, of N165.5m.

Mabi-Praise was arraigned on two counts of obtaining money by false pretences and stealing, which she pleaded not guilty to.

According to the EFCC, Mabi-Praise and her company, Mutano Energy Limited, committed the offences between April and June 2017 in Lagos.

The EFCC prosecutor, Frank Ofoma, told the court that the defendant and her company, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N134m from Omo on the pretext that the money was for the lifting and supply of Automotive Gas Oil.

He added that Mabi-Praise and her company also dishonestly stole and converted the sum of N34.1m belonging to Omo.

The offences, according to Ofoma, contravene sections 1 (1) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, and sections 258 (1) (9) and 278 (1) (2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Earlier during the proceedings, Mabi-Praise’s counsel, A. A. Adetunji, had in a motion for bail dated February 8, 2019, asked the judge to grant the defendant bail in liberal terms.

“She is ready to make herself available to the honourable court during the pendency of this trial. Upon hearing that there was a charge against her, she willingly submitted herself to the EFCC and she has reliable sureties willing to stand for her and produce her during the pendency of this matter,” Adetunji said.

Reacting to the defence counsel’s submission, Ofoma urged the court to dismiss Mabi-Praise’s bail application and prayed for an accelerated trial.

The presiding judge, Justice Sherifat Solebo, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N25m with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must be resident in Lagos, provide proof of residence and payment of taxes.

She, however, ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of the bail conditions.

Justice Solebo adjourned the case till March 25 for trial.

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