The Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned a syndicate of four suspected land scammers, for alleged N2, 000,000.00 (Two Million Naira) fraud in Uyo.
They were arraigned on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 before Justice Maureen Adaobi Onyetenu of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The suspects; Aniefiok Friday Isaac, Friday Napoleon Inyang, Imoh Asuquo Ndah and Udeme Michael Stephen, were arraigned on five-count charges bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira).
The suspects were arrested on February 21, 2023 when one Dr. Aniekan Patrick Utuk petitioned the EFCC, alleging that he was lured by Inyang (the second defendant) into paying the sum of N2million for a parcel of land located at Afaha Atai, Off Ring Road 3, Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
He further alleged that, after making the payment, he engaged a Surveyor only to discover that the suspects sold a spurious property to him. Efforts made to reach Inyang and Isaac who both signed the ‘Power of Attorney’ as family head and eldest son respectively, proved abortive.
Investigations into the matter revealed that the defendants transacted the business with fake names. Also, the supposed ‘Power of Attorney’ which they issued the petitioner was forged, as the original owner of the said plot of land died in 2018.
One of the count charges reads: “That you, Aniefiok Friday Isaac, Friday Napoleon Inyang, Imoh Asuquo, Udeme Michael Stephen, Baba (now at large), Obong Okon Oku (now at large) and Eno-Obong Clement Etim (now at large) on or about 1st February, 2023 in Akwa Ibom State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira) only from Aniekan Patrick Utuk via Bassey Anthony Okon’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Account No: 1001697942, under the pretence that the said money is for the sale of a parcel of land purported to belong to Sir Anthony Okon Bassey, the pretence which 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, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to them.
In view of their pleas, Counsel to the EFCC, Enobong Ubokudom, prayed the court to remand the defendants at the Correctional Centre and fix a date for trial to enable the prosecution prove its case.
However, defence counsel, E. W. Oseng, made an oral application for bail on the grounds that the alleged offences were bailable. Ubokudom, however, opposed the application.
After listening to both counsel, Justice Onyetenu ordered that the defendants be remanded at the Uyo Correctional Facility, pending the determination of their bail application..
The matter was adjourned to October 10, 2023 for trial.