An Abuja High Court sitting in Apo has sentenced a former employee of the Abuja Geographic Information System, Mark Egwuma, and a businessman, Emmanuel Madubueze, to prison over a N7m fraud.
The sentence was handed down despite the return of the money to the convicts’ victim.
The two men were arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission for using a fake land document to defraud one Tobechukwu Obiechina on the pretex that they were selling to him a plot of land in the Guzape District of Abuja.
In a statement by the spokesperson for the commission, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, on Monday, the ICPC said the convicts were found guilty on the six counts preferred against them by its counsel.
One of the counts read, “That you, Emmanuel Madubueze, Sabo Zabwami Auta, Mark Egwuma and one Mohammed Sanni Abdu (now at large), on or about the month of May 2015, in Abuja, forged a title document of Plot 1693 Guzape, Cadastral Zone AO9, Abuja, FCT, with the name of Mohammed Sanni Abdu, with the intent to fraudulently use same to defraud one Tobechukwu Obiechina of the sum of N7m.
“The document you claimed to be a genuine title document was forged and you thereby committed an offense contrary to and punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code Act.”
Charles Ohemu and O. Okokpujie, who represented the convicts, pleaded with the court to be lenient with their clients, claiming that they were first time offenders and good family men with young children to cater for.
The counsels said their clients had shown remorse by paying back the N7m.
In her judgment, Justice A. Otaluka acquitted Auta, explaining that his role of helping to secure a buyer for the land was performed without the knowledge that the title document was forged.
Justice Otaluka noted that Madubeze and Egwuma willfully committed the crime and should be made to face the law.
While sentencing Madubueze to four years imprisonment with an option of N250,000 fine on counts one to four, the judge said the convict would serve two years in prison on counts five and six without an option of fine.
The judge also sentenced Egwuma to four years imprisonment with an option of N200,000 fine on counts one to four, and six months each on counts five and six, stating that the sentences would run concurrently.