The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Thursday, October 15, 2020, presented the fifth prosecution witness against Rabbi Okpara and Jude Ugeaja (at large), who are facing criminal prosecution for international passport racketeering before Justice D.Z. Senchi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.
Both defendants were re-arraigned on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 on amended four-count charge, bordering on breach of trust and obtaining by trick to the tune of $105, 000 USD (One Hundred and five Thousand Dollars.)
One of the charges read, “That you, Rabbi Okpara and Jude Ugeaja (now at large), sometime in August, 2019, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired between yourselves to do an illegal act, to wit:
fraudulently and dishonestly inducing Nasiru Haladu Danu, Tommey Scott Ikott and Isaac Akarolo Ovundah to deliver the sum of $35, 000 each to you on the pretence of procuring a Republic of Malta 2nd citizen passport to them, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 96 (1)(a) of the Penal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and punishable under Section 97 of the same law.”
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, setting the stage for prosecution counsel, Fadila Yusuf, to ask the court to proceed with the trial.
At the resumed trial yesterday, PW5, Mukhtar Yahaya Dutse, an Immigration Officer, from the headquarters Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS), led in evidence by Yusuf, disclosed that NIS forensic analysis conducted on the Malta citizen passports procured by the defendants for her victims, revealed that they were counterfeits.
Following his cross-examination by defence counsel, A.S Adesino, all the documents, including the forensic evaluations and their results as presented by the witness, were tendered and admitted in court as exhibits.
Justice Senchi adjourned the case till October 29, 2020 for adoption of written addresses in the no case submission by the defendants.
It could be recalled that Nasiru Haladu Danu, Tommey Scott Ikott, Isaac Akarolo Ovundah, in a petition, alleged that the defendants handed them fake travel documents after defrauding them to the tune of $105,000, at $35,000 each, for Maltese passport.
Danu, informed the EFCC that he indeed paid the defendants the sum of $35,000 for the Island of Malta travel documents and that aside being arrested and detained upon arriving London Airport, his possessions and the travel documents were confiscated by the London Airport authorities.