In a recent legal proceeding at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Justice Akintayo Aluko delivered a verdict, convicting and sentencing trader Isong Michael to nine months imprisonment. The charges brought against the trader by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) included forgery of a SON receipt and evasion of a statutory service charge amounting to N14,700.00.
The offenses were committed on March 18, 2022, at Olawole Market, Apapa, Lagos. Isong Michael was found guilty of forging a SON receipt numbered APP/243835 dated 14/03/2022, intending to deceive others into believing it was genuine. Additionally, he evaded payment of the N14,700.00 service charge owed to SON.
Prosecutor Yusuf Lawan presented the case, citing violations of Section 465 of the Criminal Code Act and Section 31(1) of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Act, 2015. The prosecutor called upon Investigator Owolabi Oriole, who presented the relevant exhibits.
Upon reviewing the facts and exhibits, Justice Aluko convicted the trader as charged. The prosecutor requested a sentence in accordance with Section 31(1) of the Standard Organization of Nigeria Act, as well as an order for the convict to pay double the evaded amount.
In defense of his client, lawyer Mohammed Umoru implored the court to show mercy, highlighting that the case did not prolong proceedings. Umoru invoked Section 311(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, advocating for a non-custodial sentence or a fine as an alternative to imprisonment.
In the judgment, Justice Aluko sentenced the trader to nine months imprisonment, with the term commencing from the arrest and detention date of March 18, 2023. Furthermore, the convict was ordered to pay N29,400.00, double the amount evaded, as a penalty for the second count. This case serves as a reminder of the legal consequences of forgery and evasion of statutory charges, highlighting the importance of compliance with regulations set by organizations such as SON.