The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday July 7, 2014 arraigned three suspects: Mohammed Rabiu, Raphael Olorunfemi Okomoda and Adegbdsan Theophilus; before Justice Lawal Akapo of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on different criminal counts, all bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false presence, stealing, impersonation, forgery, using false document and money laundering. While Lawan was charged with 19-counts, Okomoda and Theophilus were charged with 7-counts each.
The defendants, Mohammed Rabiu Lawan (65), Raphael Olorunfemi Okomoda (50), and Adegbesan Theophilus (38), got into trouble, when they were arrested by operatives of the Commission, following a report of fraudulent sale of shares of two deceased shareholders who had shares in several blue chip companies including, Agip Nigeria Limited, Total Oil, Union Bank Nigeria Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc and Nigeria Breweries Plc.
The stocks originally belonged to Alhaji Shande Ako Dzungwe and Alhaji Isa Koto (both deceased) but were fraudulently claimed, converted and sold by the three defendants. Lawan allegedly forged identity cards, drivers licenses; school certificates and international passports of both Dzungwe and Koto, to perfect the scam.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, Fadike Giwa, prayed the court for a trial date and the remand of the defendants in prison custody. Giwa informed the court that she had filed a 22-paragraph counter-affidavit and a written address urging the court to deny the defendants bail in favour of accelerated hearing of the suit.
Counsel to the three defendants, J. H. Bashir, informed the court of his bail application and a written address, urging the court to grant the defendants bail. He specifically prayed the court to admit the defendants to bail "owing to their fragile health condition," but Giwa countered that the EFCC had been taking good care of the medical needs of the defendants.
Justice Akapo, after listening to both counsel, adjourned the case till July 8, 2014 for ruling on bail applications and ordered that the defendants be remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos.
One of the charge reads: “Mohammed Rabiu Lawan (alias Shande Ako Dzungwe), Raphael Olorunfemi Okomoda, Adegbesan Theophilus and others (still at large) on or about the 16th day of May, 2013 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain the sum of N11, 493,137.83 (Eleven Million, Four Hundred and Ninety Three Thousand, One Hundred and Thirty Seven Naira, Eighty Six Kobo) property of late Shande Ako Dzungwe”.
Another count read: “Mohammed Rabiu Lawan (alias Isa Koto) on or about the 16th of May, 2013 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud posed as Alhaji Isa Koto and fraudulently instructed Fidelity Security Limited to sell 216,625 units of Guinness Plc shares valued at N44,092,048 (Forty Four Million, Ninety Two Thousand and Forty Eight Naira) and transferred the proceeds into a Fidelity Bank account you opened in the name of the said Alhaji Isa Koto and withdrew same”.
Head, Media & Publicity
7th July, 2014