N1BN FRAUD: EFCC ARRAIGNS TWO FORMER MTN STAFF & CONTRACTOR

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, December  10, 2014 arraigned a contractor, Mutairu Babatunde and two former staff of MTN : Victor Akintunde and  Gani O. Mustapha and their companies Primavera Engineering and Construction Limited, and Mabo Dredging Limited before justice Lawal Akapo of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja  on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretense, forgery, and issuance of dud cheque.

Akintunde and Mustapha, former executive members of MTN Employees Multipurpose Cooperative Society (MEMCOS), ran into trouble when they could not account for more than N1,000,000,000.00( One Billion Naira ), being money contributed by members of MEMCOS who purposed to own houses in the ambitious “Yellow Estate” proposed to them by the executive members.

MEMCOS  was allegedly set up in order to build housing estate for the contributors but unfortunately after over N1,000,000,000 was contributed, the contributors received neither houses nor refund of their money.  Akintunde and Mustapha allegedly connived with Babatunde, a purported contractor and converted the money into their personal use.

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One of the charges read: “You Victor Akintunde, Gani O. Mustapha, Mutairu Babatunde, Primavera Engineering and Construction Limited and Mabo Dredging Limited on or about 8th April, 2008 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud, conspired to steal the sum of N77,000,000 (Seventy Seven Million Naira ) property of MTN Employees Multipurpose Cooperative Society (MEMCOS) being outstanding refund for 5 hectares out of 13 hectares of land you bought for the society from Mutairu Baba Egbe Family that you claimed had defective title and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 390(9) of the Criminal Code Cap C17 Vol2, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003”.

Another count read: “Mutairu Babatunde and Primavera Engineering and Construction Limited on or about 8th April, 2008 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud, stole the sum of N516,697,340 (Five Hundred and Sixteen Million, Six Hundred and Ninety Seven Thousand, Three hundred and Forty  Naira Only) property of MTN Employees Multipurpose Cooperative Society (MEMCOS) being sum that you fraudulently claimed you used to compensate early settlers in 26 hectares of land amounting 321 plots of land you bought for the society from Jagun Opolu Family and  thereby committed an offence contrary to section 390(9) of the Criminal Code Cap C17 Vol2, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003”.

All the accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

Counsel to the third accused person( Babatunde), moved a bail application for his client which was opposed by the prosecuting counsel,  Emmanuel Jackson. According to Jackson, it took over one year for the third accused person to appear before the court,  even after he was ordered by the court  to make himself available.

Jackson requested the court to give him a short date in order to provide further and better counter affidavit with strong evidence for the court to deny the third accused person bail.

Justice Akapo upheld the prosecution’s argument and remanded the third accused person in Kirikiri maximum prison, Lagos, pending hearing of bail application.

The case was adjourned to December 16th,  2014.Courtesy:EFCC.