The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, March 10, 2023, presented its second prosecution witness, Olufemi Olukinni, and also closed its case against the duo of Ugwu Chijioke and Ibrahim Adekunle before Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
The defendants, who were first arraigned on October 12, 2021, following their arrest in May 2021, are being prosecuted on an amended five-count charge bordering on impersonation, attempt to obtain property, possession of documents containing false pretence and unlawfully wearing the uniform of the EFCC.
Count one reads: “UGWU PASCAL CHIJIOKE and IBRAHIM SADIQ ADEKUNLE, on or about the 12th day of May 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, by false pretence and with intent to defraud, attempted to obtain property from one Oriyomi Johnson under the pretence that the ‘Chief Magistrate Court, Lagos State Judiciary Mushin Lagos’ issued an order to the effect that the property located at New Horizon Estate, Lekki Ikate, Lagos be seized and the said apartment sealed pending the arrival of the said Oriyomi Johnson, which representation you knew to be false.”
Count two read: “UGWU PASCAL CHIJIOKE and IBRAHIM SADIQ ADEKUNLE, on or about the 12th day of May 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly had in your possession a document containing false pretence titled ‘CHIEF MAGISTRATE COURT’, purportedly emanating from the Lagos State Judiciary, an information you knew to be false.”
Count four read: “UGWU PASCAL CHIJIOKE and IBRAHIM SADIQ ADEKUNLE, on or about the 12th day of May 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, falsely represented yourselves as officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and assumed to do the official act of the Commission in a property known as G2, Flat 14, New Horizon Estate, Lekki, Lagos.”
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thus prompting the commencement of their trial.
Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said at the proceedings, Olukinni, an investigator with the EFCC, narrated how a tip-off from a “concerned citizen” led to the arrest of the defendants.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, the witness said: “We got an intelligence report on 12th of May, 2021 from a concerned citizen of this country that some individuals claiming to be EFCC officers came to an apartment at the New Horizon Estate, Ikate, Lagos.
“That they brought with them a purported Court Order, which they used to execute a search and also to confiscate some household items”.
According to him, acting on the intelligence report, a sting operation was immediately carried out, and both defendants were apprehended.
He also said: “They were also searched thoroughly, following their arrest; and in their possession, we found a purported EFCC ID card with number 069 bearing the name Lamai Darlington and a red jacket with ‘EFCC’ inscribed on the back.
“We also found on them a Court Order dated 6th May 2021 purportedly emanating from the Mushin Magistrate, and a truckload of household items belonging to their unsuspecting victim.”
The witness further told the court that the defendants were taken into custody for further investigation.
According to him, the defendants were both interrogated and volunteered their statements.
“The fake EFCC ID card was subjected to investigation and we wrote to the Director of Administration and Human Resources in Abuja to confirm its authenticity.
“The court order was also subjected to investigation and we also wrote to the Chief Registrar of the High Court of Lagos, Ikeja to confirm its genuineness or otherwise,” he added.
The witness informed the court that the response from the HR in Abuja indicated that there was no such name in the database of the Commission and that the ID card was fake and never emanated from the EFCC.
He said the response from the High Court also showed that the said court order found on the defendants was fake.
Giving further testimony, he said: “We were able to establish that the two defendants forged the ID cards, and the Court Order was also forged to obtain and extort money and property from their victim, one Oriyomi Johnson.
“The red jacket with the EFCC inscription is also not ours at all.”
He then identified the statements made by the defendants under interrogation; the correspondence with the Director, Admin and Human Resources, EFCC; the correspondence with the High Court; the fake Order; the red jacket found on them; two phones and the wristwatch recovered from them.
There was no objection from the defence and the court admitted them all as exhibits against them.
The prosecution, thereafter, closed its case.
Justice Abike-Fadipe adjourned the case till May 17, 2023.