Hamzat Bashar, a resident of Sokoto, has been sentenced to 70 years in prison for defrauding several persons of a total of N29,865,000.
Bashar, who was sentenced in Sokoto on Thursday, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for defrauding victims while promoting an investment scheme.
According to a statement by the commission on Thursday, Bello Duwale, justice of the Sokoto state high court, sentenced Bashar to 70 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
The Sokoto zonal office of the EFCC is said to have arraigned him on November 7, 2019 on a “12-count amended charge, bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence”.
“That you, Hamzat Bashar Muhammad, Hindatu Bashar (now at large) and Hamga Investment Resources Limited sometime within the months of June to December 2018 at Sokoto, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the total sum of N23,760,000 (twenty-three million, seven hundred and sixty naira) from Hadiza Aliyu (for herself and other victims) when you falsely represented yourselves to her, to be running a genuine business investment of gold and herbs, a pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act,” count one of the charge reads.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The EFCC said Habila Jonathan, the prosecution counsel, had called 10 witnesses and tendered several documents to prove the case against the defendant.
“Delivering judgment today, Justice Duwale ruled that the EFCC has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt; convicted the defendant on counts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12, and sentenced him to seven years in prison without an option of fine on each of the 10 counts, which will run concurrently,” the statement reads.
“In addition, the Judge ordered the convict to restitute the total sum of N29,135,000 (twenty-nine million, one hundred and thirty-five thousand naira) to the victims through the EFCC.”
The anti-graft agency said the commission received a petition from Imran Ahmed and several other victims, alleging that Bashar had defrauded them “in a phony investment scheme in which they were promised 20 percent returns on investment every month and dividends at the end of the year”.
The commission added that “after investing various sums of money, they neither received the 20% returns nor got any dividends”.