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N27m Fraudster Bags 19-Year Prison term

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KANO, July 17, (THEWILL) - A former manager with United Bank of Africa Plc (UBA), Mr. Samuel Owoyele, has been convicted for fraud and sentenced by Justice Dije Aboki of a Kano High Court to 19 years imprisonment, following his successful prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Owoyele was found guilty of all three counts of the charge preferred against him, and he is also to pay a total sum of N20m as restitution.

On 9th December 2009, as a UBA manager, Owoyele collected the sum of N27m from one Ashiru Munzali Gambo under false pretence that he had $185,000 to sell to him. After repeated visits and appeals, the convict could neither give the promised dollars nor the naira equivalent he collected from the complainant. This necessitated a petition to the EFCC.

Justice Aboki, in her judgment, observed that the evidence against the convict was convincing, explaining that the prosecution had established that the convict acted knowingly with the intent to defraud the complainant.

The judge said that the convict induced the complainant to part with his money; tore the teller that showed the transaction in an attempt to suppress evidence, an act of desperation by the convict.

The judge noted that the prosecution had discharged its onus on this count and therefore found the accused guilty as charged. She accordingly, sentenced the accused to 10 years in prison.

On count two, Justice Aboki said that the evidence was the same but the circumstance differed. She said that false pretence and deception were present and that the accused used the money given to him to pay off another creditor of his. She held that the evidence against him was overwhelming, credible, clear and cogent. She found him guilty as charged and accordingly sentenced him to seven years without option of fine.

The judge also found Owoyele guilty on count three, which borders on willful intent to defraud and destruction of a UBA deposit slip No 23504, an offence punishable under section 371 of the Penal Code. She found the accused guilty as charged and sentenced him to two years plus a fine of N300, 000.00.

Justice Aboki said that she imposed the various prison terms on Owoyele in order to serve as deterrent to those who might like to abuse their offices, and betray public trust and confidence, such as the accused did.