The nation’s judiciary penchant for using sledge hammer on small time offenders gained currency at the weekend when a 34-year old Quantity Surveying graduate, Oluwaseun Abatan bagged a whopping 28years imprisonment for defrauding unsuspecting persons of N2.5million.
The sentence was handed down to him by Justice Sa’ad Mohammed of the Gombe State High Court.
The convict whose trial started on June 18, 2009 had an eight count charge bordering on forgery and obtaining by false pretence levied against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
EFCC arrested him in 2008 following intelligence report on the illegal activities of Guarantee Investment Network International Limited (GINI), which was defrauding unsuspecting members of the public while masquerading as Real Estate Developers and Business Managers.
Abatan who claimed to be the General Manager of the outlet in Gombe, lured innocent persons to deposit sums of money with the promise of earning interest of 40 percent within six weeks on such deposits in the short term, and acquisition of plots of land or houses in the long term.
However, investigations revealed that GINI Limited which has its head office in Lagos was incorporated as a trading company that sells mostly domestic consumables.
But unknown to the company, Abatan had devised means of using its name to carry out fraudulent activities.
He collected a sum of N2, 505,700 from a total of 487 persons that were registered by him.
During trial, directors of the company testified that the company had no interest in real estate, that they did not appoint Oluwaseun Abatan as General Manager of the company’s Gombe outlet.
They claimed that the flyer used by Abatan to promote his fraudulent business was different from that of the company.
In his judgment, Justice Mohammed held that the prosecution had proved its case against the accused person beyond all reasonable doubt on four of the eight count charge and sentenced him to 7 years on each of the four count charge without any option of fine.