Efcc Arraigns Popular Lagos Businessman, Gobir Over $300m Fraud

Source: thewillnigeria.com

BEVERLY HILLS, March 18, (THEWILL) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday arraigned one Mohammed Gobir before Justice R. I. B. Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court on a 17-count charge of stealing, forgery and obtaining by false pretence.

The 55-year old was arrested by the operatives of the commission at his Ikoyi residence on the September 12, 2015 following a petition from an Outdoor Advertising Company, Afromedia.

The petitioner alleged that, Gobir was introduced to the Company by their Private Placements Consultants, Synergy Capital Advisory Limited sometime in 2008 and that upon the introduction; he offered to invest N1billion into Afromedia, a pretext that earned him a position as a Chairman, Business Development Committee on the board of directors.

A statement issued on Friday by the EFCC Head of Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren reports that the accused person, having earned the company's trust, defrauded it several millions of hard currencies.

Among some of his fraudulent transactions, Gobir allegedly obtained the sums of $3,500,000 (three million, five hundred thousand dollars), N514,457,151.87 (five hundred and fourteen million, four hundred and fifty seven thousand, one hundred and fifty one naira, eighty seven kobo), $2,102,740 (two million, one hundred and two thousand, seven hundred and forty dollars), and £51,000 (fifty- one thousand pounds sterling) at various times under the pretext that the monies were for business expenses which he intends to facilitate with international investors who were willing to partner with Afromedia.

The defendant fraudulently induced the Company to collect $250,000,000 (two hundred and fifty million dollars) which he claimed was purportedly stashed in one UK based bank. According to him, the monies were being held by British Anti Money Laundering Agency and, he needed the money to obtain a “Waiver Certificate” for its release.

One of the counts reads:
“That you, Mohammed Gobir, a Non-Executive Director and Chairman of Business Development Committee of Afromedia Plc between January 2009 and December 2011 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N514,457,151.87 (Five Hundred and Fourteen Million, Four Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty One Naira, Eighty Seven Kobo) from Afromedia Plc by falsely pretending to Afromedia Plc that the said sum of money represented the cost of facilitating and securing the sum of $70,000,000 (Seventy Million Dollars) from your account in NATWEST Bank, London, United Kingdom as your investment fund in Afromedia Plc out of the $250,000,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million United States Dollars) stashed in your account at NATWEST Bank, London, United Kingdom which pretence you Knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No.14, 2006.”

The accused person pleaded not guilty to all the counts preferred against him.

In view of his plea, counsel to EFCC, A. B. C. Ozioko asked the court for a trial date and also to remand the accused person in prison custody pending trial

However, the defence counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde told the court that, he had a pending application for the bail of the accused person. He urged the court to graciously admit him to bail.

Ozioko, in response, asked for an adjournment to enable him respond formally to the defence application.

Thereafter, Justice Adebiyi adjourned to March 22, 2016 and May 9, 10, 11, and 12, 2016 for hearing of the bail application and trial respectively. The accused is to be remanded in Ikoyi prison.