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Lawyer, two others arraigned over N43m fraud

A legal practitioner, Tobechi Egboh, on Wednesday appeared in an Ikeja High Court over an alleged N43 million land scam.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation arraigned Egboh, 49, alongside one Joseph Ozeh and a company, Bricks Realtors Ltd., before Justice Kudirat Jose.

They are charged with five counts of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence and forgery.

Egboh gave his address as First Floor, Western House, Broad Street, Lagos while Ozeh lives at Plot 1611 Adeola Hopewell St., Victoria Island, Lagos.

The prosecution counsel, Mr Emmanuel Ugwu, told the court that the accused persons conspired and committed the offences sometime in March 2010.

Ugwu said they obtained N43 million from a businessman, Mr Mike Itemuogbor, under the pretext of selling him a plot of land.

He said the property was situated at Plot 10, Block 64, Fola Osibor St., Lekki Phase One, Lagos.

According to him, the accused persons also forged a Certificate of Occupancy purportedly issued by the Lagos State Lands Bureau to one Bridget Oluwole, to facilitate the fraud.

Ugwu said their offences contravened Sections 467 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.

He said they also contravened Sections 1(a) and 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2004.

Under the law, the offence of obtaining money by false pretences attracts a minimum of seven years in prison.

After the charges were read to them, the accused persons pleaded not guilty.

Mr J.I.Okwee, counsel to the accused, prayed the court to admit his clients to bail on liberal terms.

In her ruling, Justice Jose admitted them to bail in the sum of N5 million each, with two sureties in like sum.

Jose ordered that one of the sureties must own a property in Lagos while the other must be a public servant not below Grade Level 10.

She ordered both sureties to produce three years tax clearance issued to them by the Lagos State Government.

Jose adjourned the case till June 16 for trial.

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