Alleged N92m fraud: Court grants N20 m bail to ‘fake’ colonel

Alleged N92m fraud: Court grants N20 m bail to ‘fake’ colonel

Justice Sherifat Solebo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday granted N20 million bail to a suspected fake colonel, Paulson Ogbonnah, standing trial over alleged N92 million fraud.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, in a short ruling, Justice Solebo said that the defendant must provide two sureties who reside within the jurisdiction of the court.

“The proof of residence of the sureties must be verified by an officer of court, one of the sureties must be a registered land owner in Lagos while the other must be gainfully employed.

“The sureties must provide proof of tax payment for the past three years,” she said.

The Judge adjourned the case till Feb. 17, 18 and 19 for trial.

NAN reports that Ogbonnah, a civilian staff of the Ministry of Defence, was on Oct. 15, 2019 remanded by Justice Solebo after he was arraigned by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force for allegedly defrauding a businessman, Mr Obinna Onyekaokwu of N92 million.

He had pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge of obtaining money by false pretences, stealing by fraudulent conversion and impersonating a public officer.

According to Mr E. A Jackson, the SFU prosecutor, the defendant induced Onyekaokwu and his company Mujede Nigeria Ltd to deliver to him, directly and indirectly, the sum of N92 million.

“He induced the complainant by falsely representing to him that he was a member of the Nigerian Army holding the rank of Colonel.

“He told the complainant that by virtue of his high rank, status, position, contacts and connections in the Nigerian Army, he was capable of influencing his appointment and registration as a contractor with the Nigerian Army.

“Ogbonnah told Onyekaokwu that his appointment as a contractor will enable him supply the Nigerian Army with assorted brands of wine and other products.

“He also falsely represented to the complainant that the N92 million represented his registration fees, charges, expenses and rewards to facilitate the said appointment and registration as an Army Contractor.

“The defendant, however, fraudulently converted the complainant’s money to his own use,” Jackson said.

The SFU prosecutor also noted that Ogbonnah also extended the scam to members of his church in Lagos.

“He also falsely represented to members of Saint Timothy’s Catholic Church, Ojodu Berger, Lagos, which is his church that he was a Colonel of the Nigerian Army,” he said.

The offences contravened Section 1(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, Sections 108, 383(1), 383(2)(f) and 390(9) of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.