A couple, Ebiesuwa Abayomi Fredrick and his wife, Tinuola Idayat Oyegunle, have been sentenced to 40- year imprisonment each.
Justice Joyce Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State on Monday found them guilty on all four counts of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence brought against them by the Ibadan Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The couple, in a classic advance fee fraud scheme, fleeced one Dunni Olateru Olagbegi N53, 713, 260.00 in cash and bank transfer through a spiritual cleansing gambit to avoid calamitous consequence of mysterious sudden death having heard conversation by a syndicate about a Ghana- Must –Go bag stuffed with dollar bills in the boot of a car.
She was also tricked into bringing funds to cleanse supposed USD bliss.
The victim had sometimes in May 2013 boarded a taxi cab with three other passengers who, unknown to her, were members of a syndicate of fraudsters.
As soon as she entered the vehicle, she heard the three other supposed passengers arguing about a Ghana-Must-Go bag filled with dollars in the boot of the car.
Moments later, one of the syndicate members told her she must be cleansed to avert sudden and mysterious death having heard their discussion.
She was taken to an unknown destination where she subsequently started giving the defendants and the other members of the syndicate (at large) various sums in cash and bank payment totaling N53, 713, 260.00 to buy instruments for the cleansing of dollar notes, which she allegedly sourced from the sale of her properties in Ibadan and Lagos.
In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that over N9million was paid into the second defendant, Tinuola Idayat Oyegunle’s account domiciled in one of the third generation banks apart from other funds traced to the first defendant, Ebiesuwa Abayomi Fredrick’s account.
It was also discovered the first defendant built Victoria East Park Hotel & Suite at Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos from the proceeds of the crime.
In his judgment, Justice Abdulmalik found the couple guilty of the four-count charge and sentenced both of them to 10- year imprisonment on each of the four counts.
However, while Ebiesuwa’s prison term takes effect from June 19, 2017, when he was arrested, Tinuola’s time in the Custodial Centre will start counting from May 26, 2017, when she was arrested.
The Judge also ordered that Victoria East Park Hotel & Suite, “be sold and the proceeds, if not up to N53, 713, 260.00 be returned to the victim in the case and if it exceeds, the balance be paid into the Federal Government’s account”.
The sentences are to run concurrently.