Nigeria: Serial Fraudster arranged over Land Scam
The Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday arraigned one Yohana Margif, a suspected serial fraudster, before Justice C. O. Agbaza of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Jabi, Abuja, on a 7-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and fraud.
His journey to the dock as narrated by EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren followed a petition by the Department of Land Administration, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, alleging that the defendant presented a title document, purported to be original Mass Housing Development Programme within the FCT, in the name of Verizon Heritage Limited, dated February 19, 2010 for confirmation in the Search Unit of Abuja Geographic Information System, AGIS.
According to Uwujaren, the petitioner, the said documents were intercepted upon presentation as they appeared to be irregular.
EFCC investigation into the matter revealed that Verizon Heritage Limited did not transfer the said title to any person or any company.
The documents presented to the Department of Land Administration, AGIS, for legal search were also confirmed fake.
One of the counts reads:
“That you, Yohana Margif, on or sometime in December 2015 in Abuja which is within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, intentionally forged payment receipt dated 15th day of August, 2014, of the sum of $4,687,500 (Four Million, Six Hundred and Eighty Seven Thousand, Five Hundred US Dollar) from MSDANLAMI NIGERIA LIMITED in the names of Chief F. Nwora and Mrs. E. Nwora on behalf of Verizon Heritage Limited, and you thereby committed the above offence punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code Law”.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Rimamsomte Ezekiel, asked the court for a date for trial, but the defence counsel, R. N. Mbu, objected saying, he had a pending bail application before the court.
“We have an application dated May 9, 2018 and filed on May 10, 2018 before your Lordship. It is brought pursuant to Section 168 (b), 162, 163, 165 (1) of the Administration of Criminal justice Act, ACJA, and Section 35 and 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended”, Mbu said.
He prayed the court to admit defendant to bail.
Responding, Ezekiel strongly opposed the application urging the court not to grant it. He said the prosecution had responded with a 16-paragraph counter affidavit and relied on all the paragraphs.
“We submit that in granting or refusing applications of this nature, the court is guided by Section 162 of ACJA”, he said.
Justice Agbaza, after listening to the submission of counsel, ordered the remand of the defendant in Kuje prison and adjourned to June 6, 2018, for ruling on the bail application.
In a separate charge, Margif is also facing another four-count charge of conspiracy, forgery, and obtaining by false pretence before Justice O.O. Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja.