• Another convicted of visa fraud
For allegedly forging a West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate and bank statements of Ecobank and First Bank, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned a 44-year-old travel agent, Oluseyi Lamoru before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo on an eight-count charge bordering on possession of fraudulent documents.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Spiff Owede, told the court that the defendant committed the offences on August 22, 2017 in Lagos. His offences contravene Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and Section 363(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.The prosecution alleged that: “The defendant, with intent to defraud, forged a WAEC certificate with the name Shonubi Muheeba Olasunbo and purported that the said certificate emanated from WAEC. Lamoru with fraudulent intent, forged five Benue State University certificates. He also forged an Ecobank statement of account with account number 2852009964 with the name Adewale Anuoluwapo Kudirat and a First Bank statement of account with the name Ajibode Oluwaseun Olusola.”
Following his plea of not guilty to the charges, the prosecutor prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison to avoid congesting the cells of the anti-graft agency and asked for a trial date. However, the defendant counsel, Mr. Ademola Adewale, requested that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody.
EFCC counsel opposed his request. He said: “It is unfortunate that we have no space in the commission. Immediately he stepped out, a new suspect who had to stay behind the counter, took his place.” The judge ordered that Lamoru be remanded in EFCC custody and adjourned hearing of bail application till October 12.
Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said it has secured a conviction against another visa racketeer, Giwa Sulaimon, who was earlier arraigned for forgery and making false statements. In a statement issued by ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, it said the commission filed a three-count charge before S.O. Solebo of an Ikeja High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State against the convict.
The allegations bordered on providing misleading information to the United States of America (USA) consulate in Lagos with the intent of procuring a visa which contravened Section 17(1)(c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, respectively.
The statement added that Giwa was also arraigned on allegations of making false statements to officers of the commission averring that the documents submitted to the consulate were genuine when they were not, which is contrary to Section 25 of the law establishing the ICPC.
Okoduwa, in the statement, said trouble started for Giwa when ICPC received intelligence that he had submitted a visa application to the USA consulate with misleading and fraudulent documents. Okoduwa added that on the set day for further interview on his application, he was arrested by operatives of ICPC and the following documents were retrieved from him: a United Bank for Africa (UBA) letter conveying approval for his annual leave; a Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) statement of account.
Okoduwa said that further investigations revealed that the convict was not a worker of UBA as claimed and that the content of the statement of account he had was not a true representation of his account with GTB and therefore had been falsified. It was also discovered that the visas for United Kingdom, Republic of Benin, Republic of Togo and Ghana contained in his international passport were fake.
According to Okoduwa, the convict proposed a plea bargain upon which the prosecution filed a three-count amended charge indicating a plea bargain and sentence agreement, which was executed by both parties. The trial judge convicted Giwa on his plea of guilty and sentenced him to pay a fine of N50,000 only on three counts.