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Court Jails Fake Chief Of Army Staff, Bolarinwa For Seven Years, Orders Forfeiture Of Property To Nigerian Government

July 7, 2022

Abiodun had been arraigned on a 13-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, forgery of documents and possession of documents containing false pretence.

The Lagos Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday secured the conviction and sentencing of Bolarinwa Abiodun, a fake Army General, to seven years in prison, before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State.

Abiodun had been arraigned on a 13-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, forgery of documents and possession of documents containing false pretence to the tune of N266,500,000.

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The offences are contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006; Section 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 and Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006, respectively.

The defendant, who posed as a General in the Nigerian Army was accused by the EFCC of making false representations to the complainant, Kodef Clearing Resources, that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, had short-listed him and one other to be appointed as the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, and that he needed a short grant to “press and process the appointment.”

Abiodun, who was arrested at his house in the Alagbado area of Lagos State on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, was also accused of forging a letter of appointment as COAS purportedly signed by the President and showed the same to the victim to further prove his claim.

In the said letter, he claimed that he needed to pay a certain amount of money into the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as part of the requirements for the appointment as COAS.

Abiodun was also accused of forging a Nigeria Army Identity Card with serial number 387140, claiming the same to have been issued to him from the Nigerian Army, and another forged Letter of Recommendation purportedly signed by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo recommending one Adebayo Rasaq Adebola, with recruitment No 77RRI/OG/556/0032555 and Adeogun Emmanuel Adesola with recruitment No 77RRI/OG/352/0123751 for employment into the Nigeria Army.

He was also accused of being in possession of a forged Certificate of Confirmation dated November 7, 2018, purporting the same to have emanated from the Nigerian Army Headquarters.

One of the counts had read, "Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun, between 15th June, 2020 and 31st December 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and whilst holding yourself out as a General in the Nigerian Army, obtained the sum of N111,400,000 from Kodef Clearing Resources Limited, under the pretence that the sum represented part of the amount expended to "press and process" your incoming appointment by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, as the CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF of the Nigerian Army, which pretence you knew to be false."

He had pleaded "not guilty" to the charges when he was first arraigned on April 11, 2022.

In the course of the trial, the prosecuting team, Rotimi Oyedepo, A.O. Muhammed, S.I. Suleiman and E.K. Uduak presented six witnesses and tendered documentary evidence to prove the case against him.

The prosecution opened its case on April 25, 2022 and closed its case on June 20, 2022.

However, at today's sitting, July 7, 2022, the defence counsel, Otunba Ogunleye, informed the court that his client had decided to change his plea, "rather than going through the rigours of defence.”

There was no objection raised by the lead prosecuting counsel, Oyedepo, who noted that "the defendant has the constitutional right to do so, and we are still standing on the same charges."

Thereafter, the 13 counts were read afresh to him.

"I'm guilty," he said to all the counts.

Thereafter, Justice Taiwo convicted him as charged.

In sentencing the convict, Justice Taiwo held that: "The defendant went the length of involving a former president of this country, General Obasanjo and forged documents allegedly signed by the current president of this country, President Muhammadu Buhari.

"It is so sad that people like the defendant have given our beloved country bad image.

"It is obvious that the defendant appears to be a very intelligent man, more is the pity that he could not put his ingenuity to better use.

"In the light of the seriousness of this scam, and in order to send a clear message to all scammers, fraudsters and criminals, this court is prepared to protect the interest of Nigerians and the society at large.

"I therefore sentence the defendant to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine."

The Court also granted the prayers of the prosecution for the forfeiture of the four vehicles and the property in order to help the victim recover his money. He was also ordered to pay N20 million as restitution to the victim. His First Bank account was also ordered "closed forthwith.”

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CRIME