$800,000 Fraud: Court fixes December 22 for Ruling on Suspect's Extradition
Justice P. I. Ajoku of the Federal High Court Lagos has fixed December 22, for ruling on the application brought by the Attorney General of the Federation seeking an order to extradite Rasheed Mustapha Abayomi to the United States of America to face trial for his alleged fraudulent activities.
Rasheed who was based in America became a fugitive after allegedly swindling a United States organisation of $800,000 but was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission after being contacted by the FBI. The US government under the mutual legal assistance treaty with Nigeria is seeking his extradition to the United States through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
Muslim Hassan, counsel from the office of the attorney general of the federation told the court to extradite Abayomi to the United States to face trial for his alleged offences. He told the court that the offences were extraditable contrary to the argument of Abayomi's counsel that the offences were not extraditable. He told the court to take cognisance of the Decree Number 1 of 1966 which established the legitimacy of military government and the subsequent powers conferred on them to make laws including the extradition law. He also told the court that extradition law was already in existence and so does not need to go through section 12 of the 1999 constitution.
Joseph Nwabike, SAN counsel to Rasheed had told the court to dismiss the submission of Hassan, claiming that it lacks substance. He told the court to take cognisance of the earlier ruling of another court and the bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Great Britain entered in 1931. He claimed that the offences were not extraditable and the 1966 decree did not pass through legislative process.
35 year old Rasheed Mustapha escaped from the United States and took refuge in Nigeria after defrauding an American company of about $800,000. He is currently cooling his heels in prison as he awaits ruling on the extradition request by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to the United States. The 35-year-old Mustapha was alleged to have conspired with four other persons including his cousin also based in the United States in 2006, to obtain cheques totalling $800,000 from the 401(k) Plans ( pension scheme ) to which they are not entitled.
Once employed by the ACS, a Pension Fund Administrator in the US , Mustapha informed his conspirators how to obtain from the ACS default personal identification numbers “PINS” for the 401(K) Plans Accounts of the 401(K) participants. He provided them with information as to how to change the mailing addresses associated with those accounts, and how to obtain distribution checks from those accounts. The FBI discovered this and placed an arrest warrant on him before he finally fled to Nigeria .
The FBI however contacted the EFCC which eventually trailed and arrested him on 12th March, 2011 in his father's residence in Lekki area of Lagos State where he was hiding.
While Mustapha awaits the ruling of the court on his extradition, three other Nigerian fugitives had earlier been extradited to the US in 2008,2009 and 2011. They are George Ubeozor extradited in 2008 , Sunday Adebisi Adegbesan who was handed over in 2009, both to the authorities in New York , while Emmanuel Ekhator was handed over to the authorities in Pennsylvania on August 11, 2011 all in USA .