The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned Gift Onyegam before Justice M. Shuaibu of the Federal High Court, Enugu, Enugu State southeast Nigeria, on a 4-count charge of obtaining money under false pretence.
The accused who hails from Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, southsouth Nigeria, was working as security guard with Anti Risk Security Company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, when he and three others conspired to defraud Mary Rose Ihekanacho, a visually impaired teacher, of the sum of N830, 000 under the guise of securing a job for her son with an oil company.
One of the charges against the accused read: “That you Gift Onyegam, Sunday Promise (at large), Okon Ayebaye (at large), and Opurum Emeka (at large), sometime in August 2012, in Enugu within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N541,000 from Rosemary Ihekanacho through a First Bank account number 3050676816 belonging to Okon Ayebaye by false pretence; that the said money is meant for securing a job for her son at Shell Petroleum Development Company, which pretence you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1, (1) (a) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”
The accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read to him.
The case has been adjourned till 21 June, 2013 for ruling on the bail application, while the accused was remanded in prison custody.
The 33-year-old Onyegam deceived Rose through calls purportedly by a former acquaintance, Patrick Abah, a fellow she met during her National Youth Service orientation in 2009, into making the payments to enable her secure employment for her son with Shell Petroleum Company in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, southsouth Nigeria.
The supposed Patrick had asked Rose if her son would like to work with Shell in Port Harcourt as they were recruiting.
Rose said she would like the job for her son and the fraudster promised to assist her through his in-law, Okoh Ayabaye, an Engineer with Shell.
She was then asked to pay the sum of N830,000 into two accounts: a First Bank account belonging to Okoh Ayabaye and a Diamond Bank account belonging to Alamabo Teneilabe.
It dawned on her that she had been duped when the job was not forthcoming after the payment had been made. Consequently, she petitioned the EFCC.
The anti- graft agency launched its investigations which culminated in the arrest of one of the account owners, Alamabo Teneilabe.
Teneilabe however claimed he knew nothing about the fraud.
He said he only gave his number to his colleague, Gift Onyegam who told him that he needed the account to enable his sister remit some money to him as Diamond Bank was the only bank operating where she lives.
He claimed he acquiesced to the request after Gift promised to give him N3, 000 from the money he was expecting from the sister, that he never knew he was going to use his account for any fraudulent purpose.
Teneilabe’s arrest paved way for the arrest of Gift Onyegam who confessed to having committed the fraud.
He admitted getting Mary Rose Ihekanacho’s details from the youth corpers’ year book and presenting himself as Abah Patrick when he spoke to Mary Rose Ihekanacho.
Gift also admitted to have received the sum of N830, 000 from the victim to give her employment and that he used the money to purchase a bus which, according to him, got burnt after about three months.