Home » How Alleged Fake Army General Used First Bank Account To Perpetuate N266,500,000 Fraud – EFCC Witness

How Alleged Fake Army General Used First Bank Account To Perpetuate N266,500,000 Fraud – EFCC Witness

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Mr Buhari Bello Kobi, the fourth prosecution witness and a member of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) team that investigated an alleged obtaining money by false pretence, forgery of documents, and possession of documents containing false pretence involving N266,500,000 fraud pending against an alleged fake Army General, Bolarinwa Abiodun has said he used First Bank account to perpetrate the alleged fraud.

Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Mr Buhari told Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos
that the EFCC received a petition sometime in November 2021 and the investigating team immediately swung into action by carrying out surveillance activities, which led to the arrest of the defendant on 12th January 2022.

“Attached to the petition was a letter (purportedly) signed by President Muhammadu Buhari addressed to the defendant for an appointment and also Certificate of Confirmation as the new incoming Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and invitation for inauguration as COAS all sent to the petitioner via WhatsApp.

“We further gathered intelligence through surveillance and on the 12th of January 2022, the suspect was arrested at his residence at Alagbado, Lagos.

“In the course of the search several items were recovered from his house, including six pump action guns, three cartridge bullets, a swagger stick, a military ID card with the passport photo of the defendant and his name as General Bolarinwa and several forged documents were recovered from him with several photographs of him in military uniform,” he testified.

The witness also testified that the investigation showed several transfers from the victim to the bank account of the defendant. He also confirmed that the defendant effected a change of name on his First Bank account from Hassan Kareem Ayinde to Olusegun Abiodun Bolarinwa.

Mr Buhari also said letters of investigation activities were also written to First Bank of Nigeria Plc, where the account of the defendant was domiciled, as well as Zenith Bank and UBA where the accounts of the victim were domiciled.

Meanwhile, Justice Taiwo has admitted in evidence: pictures showing the defendant posing with former president Obasanjo and other top serving and retired top military officers.

The defendant, whose bail was on 25th April 2022 refused by the court on the ground that he is a flight risk, is facing offences contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2006; Section 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 and Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006, respectively.

Mr Buhari further told the court that four vehicles were also recovered from his house including a Hilux, a Range Rover, a Land Cruiser, and one other vehicle with OBJ1 as its number plate.

He said the investigating team wrote to relevant authorities including the State House, and Defence Headquarters to ascertain the genuineness of the documents. He said letters of investigation activities were also written to First Bank of Nigeria Plc, where the account of the defendant was domiciled, as well as Zenith Bank and UBA where the accounts of the victim were domiciled.

He thereafter confirmed Exhibit A, which was already before the court as the petition, and identified the responses received from First Bank, UBA and Zenith Bank which were already before the court as exhibits.

He also identified the letter of investigation activities written to the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, and the State House, as well as their responses.

The prosecution thereafter sought to tender them in evidence against the defendant and there were no objections raised by the defence counsel, Kayode Lawal.

The trial judge, Justice Taiwo, admitted the EFCC letter to the COAS as Exhibit F; response from Nigeria Army Headquarters as Exhibit G; EFCC letter to Chief of Staff to the President as Exhibit H; response from the State House as Exhibit J; EFCC letter to the Chief of Defence Staff as Exhibit K; response from Defence Headquarters Ministry of Defence as Exhibit L.

The search warrant used to execute the search on his house was also admitted in evidence as Exhibit N.

Five photographs recovered from his house in which he was wearing an Army uniform and posing as a General were also tendered in evidence and admitted as Exhibit N to N 4; photographs of him posing with other military officers were admitted in evidence as Exhibit N5 to N7; photographs of him in mufti were admitted in evidence as Exhibit N8 to N15; photo of the late Sani Abacha and late MKO Abiola recovered from his house was admitted as Exhibit N16; an ID card of the Nigerian Army with the defendant’s photo as Brigadier-General Abiodun Bolarinwa with 15th July 2022 as expiry date was also admitted as Exhibit O.

Testifying on the ID card, the witness told the court that the response from the Nigeria Army Headquarters indicated that the defendant was not a military officer as he posed to be.

He read from the response from the Army thus: “Available records in the Nigerian Army revealed that there is no serving or retired officer bearing the name Brigadier-General Abiodun Bolarinwa and the number on the ID card, N/30779 does not exist in the Nigerian Army database.

“Additionally, the name Oluwasegun Bolarinwa Hassan does not exist in the Nigerian Army database.

“In view of the foregoing, the two persons in question are not personnel of the Nigerian Army.”

According to the witness, the defendant was confronted with the ID card, and he confessed that he forged the ID card.

The prosecution also tendered in evidence the statements made to investigators in the presence of his lawyer during the investigation and they were admitted in evidence as Exhibit P1 to P22. Several other items were also admitted in evidence against him by the court including a file jacket and several documents in which the defendant held himself out as a military officer.

The witness further testified that the responses from the CDS, COAS and Chief of Staff, indicated that the said letter of appointment as COAS “did not emanate from the Presidency, same with the Certificate of Confirmation and purported inauguration invitation card”.

He was first arraigned on 11th April 2022 and he pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges.

One of the counts reads: “Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun, between 15th June 2020 and 31st December 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and whilst holding yourself out as a General in the Nigerian Army, obtained the sum of N111,400,000 from Kodef Clearing Resources Limited, under the pretence that the sum represented part of the amount expended to “press and process” your incoming appointment by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, as the CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF of the Nigerian Army, which pretence you knew to be false.”

Another count reads: “Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun, sometime in May 2020 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly forged LETTER OF APPOINTMENT AS CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF dated 20th May 2020 and purported the said document to have emanated from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which document you know to be false.”

The case has been adjourned till the 2nd and 3rd
June 2022 for the continuation of the trial.

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