Wednesday, February 12, 2014

MTN workers to face trial over alleged N1.4b fraud




ABSENCE of a defendant yesterday stalled the scheduled arraignment of three workers of MTN, a telecommunication company, who were alleged to have stolen N1.358 billion belonging to other employees of the company under the pretense of buying landed properties for them.
   The accused, Victor Akintunde, Gani O. Mustapha and Mutairu Babatunde, as well as their companies, Primavera Engineering and Construction Limited and Mabo Dredging Limited were brought before a Lagos High Court, Ikeja.
   Though the third defendant (Mutairu Babatude) was not present in court, the accused persons were slammed with 17-count charge for obtaining money by false pretence, intent to defraud, forgery of signature and issuance of dud cheque by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC).
   According to the amended charge dated 15th December, 2013, "Victor Akintunde, Gani O. Mustapha, Mutairu Babatunde, Primavera Engineering and Construction Limited and Mabo Dredging Limited on or about 8th of April, 2008 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judiciary Division with intent to defraud, conspired to steal the sum of N77,000,000.00 property of MTN Employees Multi-purpose 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."
   The offence is said to be contrary to section 516 of the Criminal Code Cap. C17, Vol.2, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria.
  

It further stated that the accused on the 10th September, 2009, with intent to defraud, stole the sum of N516,697,340.00 property of MTN Employees Multi-purpose Cooperative Society (MEMCOS) being sum fraudulently claimed to be used to compensate early settlers in 26 hectares of land amounting to 321 plots of land bought for the society from Jagun Opolu family.
   The offences were said to be contrary to section 6, 8(a)(b) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
The anti-graft agency also held that the accused, on the 25th April, 2008, with intent to defraud, issued a dud cheque to First Bank, cheque No Pc68290484 to cash the sum of N427,114,414.00 in favour of MTN Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative Limited.
   The charge also held that the accused on the 20th May 2008 with intent to defraud, forged the signature of Chief Atiku Rasheed Abogun.
   The matter was adjourned till March 26, 2014 for the arraignment.