Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court in Ikeja sentenced Chris Nnaji, to one year imprisonment on Thursday for being in possession of fraudulent documents.
The judge delivered the judgement following a successful prosecution by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The convict was arraigned on an amended two-count charge bordering on possession of documents containing false pretence contrary to Section 320 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.
One of the counts reads: “Chris Nnaji, sometimes in the month of November 2022 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud, had in your possession documents containing false pretences to wit “Letter of Authorisation/Payment”, which document you knew to be false.”
The second count reads: “Chris Nnaji, sometimes in the month of November 2022 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud, had in your possession several documents containing false pretences, which documents you knew to be false.”
During the defendant’s arraignment, he pleaded “guilty” to the charges.
After pleading guilty, the prosecuting counsel, T.J. Banjo, gave a review of the facts of the case to prove the guilt of the defendant.
Adopting the facts of the case, he said: “Sometimes in February 2022, the Lagos Command of the EFCC received petition from the Access Bank on the activities of not just an organised cyber criminals, but businessmen.
“Investigation was conducted and the defendant was arrested.
“It was uncovered that he belonged to a group called Businessmen on WhatsApp, to source for account details capable of holding huge sums of amount.
“They make use of old Access Bank cards and Union Bank to carry out fraudulent activities, using false documents to deceive their victims to extort money from them.”
The agency told the court that two mobile phones were recovered from him and analysed.
“Several fraudulent documents were printed out from his mobile devices in his presence,” he added.
To prove its case, the prosecution tendered in evidence the statements made by the defendant and the fraudulent documents obtained from his devices.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel, Ugochukwu Jonathan did not oppose the tendering of the exhibits before the court.
The exhibits were all admitted by the Court as evidence against the defendant.
Subsequently, the prosecution urged the court to convict the defendant as charged and to order the forfeiture of the devices recovered from him to the Federal Government.
The defendant who was given an opportunity to address the court pleaded for mercy.
The defence counsel also prayed the court to temper justice with mercy adding that the convict was a first-time offender.
“We plead for a non-custodial sentence,” Ugochukwu begged.
The judge sentenced the convict to one year on count one, and also one year on count two to run concurrently, though he was given an option of N1 million fine with 100 hours community service.
Items recovered from the convict were also asked to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.