A middle-aged man, identified as Mr. Ikechukwu Ogbu, who is serving a 10-year sentence at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, was yesterday sentenced to 162 years imprisonment by an Ikeja high court for defrauding a bank manager, one Chukwu, of N12.3million.
The convict, Ogbu, was charged alongside Chuks Ibebugbu for conspiring to defraud Edet Chukwu. They were arraigned on June 10, 2011 on a 10-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretences and stealing by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Ibebugbu was discharged and acquitted due to insufficient evidence.
Ogbu defrauded Chukwu between May and October 2009, pretending that he was detained by EFCC for bringing $2.5 million into the country. He told the complainant that he needed some money to clear himself from the anti-graft agency, promising Chukwu that the $2.5 million in the custody of the EFCC will be deposited in the bank.
Mr. Chukwu, a branch manager of a second generation bank, wanting to meet his account deposit targets, believed Ogbu’s tale and sourced for funds to enable Ogbu sort himself out with EFCC.
Justice Okunnu, while reading her judgement, stated that prison officials aided the crime by allowing Ogbu open a bank account and wear regular clothes, which tricked Chukwu, during his visits to the prison, into believing that Ogbu was not a convicted prisoner.
Pronouncing the sentence, Okunnu said: “I have listened to the plea of counsel. I have noted that names of a lot of notable personalities were put on the line during the commission of this crime and I have also noted that the defendant has remained unrepentant.
“I sentence the defendant to 18 years each on counts two to 10. The sentence will run concurrently.”
Earlier, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Nnaemeka Omewa, said: “In just two years of his serving his prison term, he committed this heinous crime; imagine what will occur when he is allowed to live freely in society.”