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  • Crime
  • Updated: April 26, 2024

Charcoal producers president jailed over N7m fraud

Charcoal producers president jailed over N7m fraud

Justice H.H. Kereng of the Gombe State High Court has sentenced Edu Babatunde Azeez, President of the National Association of Charcoal Producers and Exporters (NACPE), to one year in jail for fraud involving N7 million.

Azeez and his firm, Ablims Limited, pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy and gaining by false pretence.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Gombe State Zonal Command, arrested Azeez and his firm following a plea submitted by Ayanbisi Ismail, who claimed that Azeez robbed him of N7,183,750 and that all attempts to obtain a refund were futile.

According to the allegations, Azeez and his firm fraudulently got the money in December 2022 and falsely represented it as payment for shipping charcoal to Saudi Arabia.

The two-count charge preferred against Azeez read: “That you Edu Babatunde and Ablims Limited sometime in December 2022 at Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court fraudulently obtained the sum of N7,183,750 from one Ayanbisi Ismail by falsely representing the money to be for exporting charcoal to Saudi Arabia, a representation which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 320 and punishable under Section 322 of the penal Code Law.

“That you Edu Babatunde and Ablims Limited sometime in December 2022 at Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired amongst yourselves to do an illegal act to wit: cheating and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 96 and punishable under Section 97(2) of the Penal code Law.”

After pleading guilty, prosecuting attorney A.B. Kware asked the court to convict and sentence Azeez as accused.

Inusa Mahammed, the defence attorney, sought mercy, noting Azeez's status as a first-time offender.

In his verdict, Justice Kereng convicted and sentenced Azeez and Ablims Limited to one year in jail, with the possibility of a N200,000 fine.

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