By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
A couple, Ebiesuwa Abayomi Fredrick and his wife, Tinuola Idayat Oyegunle were on Monday sentenced to 40 years imprisonment each over N53 million fraud by a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan
The couple, were found guilty by Justice Joyce Abdulmalik on all the four counts charge of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence brought against them by the Ibadan Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to EFCC, the couple, in a classic advance fee fraud scheme, fleeced one Dunni Olateru Olagbegi of N53, 713, 260.00 (Fifty-Three Million, Seven Hundred and Thirteen Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty Naira) in cash and bank transfer through a spiritual cleansing gambit in order to avoid calamitous consequence of mysterious sudden death having heard conversation by a syndicate about a Ghana- Must –Go bag stuffed with United States Dollar bills in the boot of a car. She was also tricked into bringing funds to cleanse supposed USD bliss
The anti graft commission added that the victim had sometimes in May 2013, boarded a taxi cab with three other passengers who, unknown to her, were members of a syndicate of fraudsters and that as soon as she entered the vehicle, she heard the three other supposed passengers arguing about a Ghana-Must-Go bag filled with US Dollars in the boot of the car.
It added that “moments later, one of the syndicate member told her that she must be cleansed to avert sudden and mysterious death having heard their discussion. She was taken to an unknown destination, where she subsequently started giving the defendants, and the other members of the syndicate (at large) various sums in cash and bank payment totaling N53, 713, 260.00 (Fifty-Three Million, Seven Hundred and Thirteen Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty Naira) to buy instruments for the cleansing of United States Dollar notes, which she allegedly sourced from the sale of her properties in both Ibadan and Lagos.
EFCC stressed that “in the course of investigation, It was discovered that over N9m ( Nine Million Naira) was paid into the second defendant, Tinuola Idayat Oyegunle’s account domicile in one of the third generation banks; apart from other funds traced to the first defendant, Ebiesuwa Abayomi Fredrick’s account and that the first defendant built Victoria East Park Hotel & Suite located at Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State from the proceeds of the crime.
The judge, Justice Joyce Abdulmalik in his judgement found the couple guilty of the four-count charge and sentenced both of them to 10 years imprisonment on each of the four counts. However, while Ebiesuwa’s prison term takes effect from June 19, 2017 when he was arrested, Tinuola’s time in the Custodial Centre will start counting from May 26, 2017 when she was arrested.
Justice Abdulmalik also ordered that Victoria East Park Hotel & Suite, “be sold and the proceed, if not up to N53, 713, 260.00 (Fifty-Three Million, Seven Hundred and Thirteen Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty Naira) be returned to the victim in the case and if it exceeds, the balance be paid into the Federal Government’s account”.
The sentences are to run concurrently