The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has secured a 7-year conviction of two fraudsters, Aso Adasa Morrison and Frank Biobarakuma.
According to a statement on Thursday from the Commission, the suspects were first arraigned sometime in March 2013 before Hon. Justice B. A. Georgewill of Rivers State High Court 16 on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining by false pretence.
The court was informed of how the convicts and others at large between the month of March 2012 and February 2013 in Port Harcourt, fraudulently obtained the sum of $260,000 and $402,300 from one Mr. Jung Yongmin, a South Korean, under the pretext of selling Nigerian crude oil to him.
Their actions were contrary to Sections 1 and 8 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2004 and Section 467 of the Criminal Code Act, 2004.
The convicts had earlier entered a “not guilty” plea when the charges were brought before them and that set the tune for a long legal battle.
However, it was only recently that the trial judge, Justice S. C. Amadi, Chief Judge of Rivers State (who inherited the case after the elevation of Justice Georgewill to the Court of Appeal) found the Convicts guilty on all 17 counts.
In their allocutus to the court, defence counsel pleaded that the convicts were first-time offenders who have children to cater for and that the court should consider a non-custodial sentencing which was not granted.
Handing down judgment, Justice Amadi sentenced the duo to 3 years in prison for counts 1-4, 7 years in prison for counts 5 & 6, 3 years in prison for count 7-17 without any option of fine.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
The court further advised that the South Korean Embassy (the petitioners) be informed of the judgment which is a consequence of their petition to ICPC.