A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, South West Nigeria has adjourned the trial of two Bureau de Change operators (BDC), Abdullahi Awwal Mohammed and Mohammed Kabiru, and their company, Kabiru Global Investment Limited, till February 27, 2017.
The two BDC operators and their company were arraigned before a Federal High Court presided over by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force on a 10-count charge of fraud and issuing of dud cheques.
The accused persons, according to the criminal charge marked FHC/L/404c/2016, were alleged to have fraudulently received the sum of N92.703m from another Bureau de Change operator, Churchill Tom Udo, and his company, Westgate Global Trust Limited, under the false pretense that they could assist him in changing the sum into the U.S. dollar equivalent.
They were also alleged to have, on or about July 15, 2015, issued 10 cheques from their company's account domiciled with the United Bank of Africa (UBA) with the account number 101896574, to the said Churchill Udo. But on presenting the cheques at the bank for payment, they were marked rejected, due to lack of sufficient funds in the account.
The SFU's prosecutor, E. A. Jackson, stated that the offences committed by the BDC operators are contrary to and punishable under sections 1(1)(b) and 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006, and sections 1(b), (2), and Section 2 of the Dishonoured Cheque (Offences) Act, Cap. D11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
However, the accused BDC operators pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been admitted to bail on various terms and conditions.
The arraignment of the BDC operators and their company was sequel to a petition written to Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris by a Lagos-based lawyer, Hycinth Odu, on behalf of his client, Mr. Udo, who accused the BDC operators of defrauding him of the sum of N92.703 million.
In the petition dated September 15, 2016, captioned “Complaint of a case of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and issuing of dud cheques,” the lawyer stated that his client, Mr. Udo, on May 24, 2016, credited the corporate and personal accounts of Abdullahi Awwal Mohammed with some banks with the total sum of N92.703 million in expectation of getting the money changed to $872,923.66 USD.
The lawyer stated that his client paid the said fund in the BDC operators' account, which was domiciled with Fidelity Bank with the account number 5080105835; FCMB with the account number 0708506024; and his UBA account with the account number 2071126951.
He further stated that his client was issued UBA cheques with numbers 8, 36, 37, 38, 38, 40, 42, 43, 44,and 45, which were dated August 19, 2016, and that after several presentations of the cheques at the bank, they were rejected for lack of sufficient funds in the account.