A BDC operator, Muhammed Usman, and his company, Masha Allah International Resources Limited, have been remanded by Justice Ismail Ijelu of the Lagos State High Court over a four-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence and stealing to the tune of N250 million. The remand order followed their arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to the EFCC counsel, Ahmed Yerima, the defendants induced their victims to part with various sums of money by deceitful means. For instance, they deceitfully induced one Abdullahi Dalhatu Isa to pay N34,350,000 into Usman’s account on the pretext that he had the equivalent foreign currency for exchange at the rate of N685 per US Dollar, which they knew to be false.
Similarly, the defendants induced Alhaji Lawal A.A. of Three Brothers Rice Mill Limited to pay the total sum of N34,175,000 and N47, 950,000 into Usman’s account on the understanding that he had the equivalent foreign currency for exchange at the rate of N683.5 per US Dollar, which they also knew to be false.
The EFCC also alleged that the defendants obtained N67,600,000 through Usman’s account from one Suleiman Bashiru on the pretext that he had the equivalent foreign currency for exchange at the rate of N675 per one US Dollar, which they knew to be false. In addition, the defendants obtained $37,314.00 from Faisan Haruna on the pretext that they would give him the naira equivalent, which they also knew to be false.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. The EFCC requested that the court fix a trial date to enable them to assemble their witnesses and for an order of the court to remand the first defendant at a custodial facility. However, the defence counsel, Jimoh Bashir, urged the court to remand Usman in EFCC custody. Bashir informed the court that he was in the process of filing his client’s bail application, which would be served on the prosecution soon.
Justice Ijelu ordered that Usman be remanded at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre and adjourned the case to June 19 for the commencement of the trial.