30th September, 2010
A Lagos High Court Judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole yesterday convicted a woman, Mary EzeÂ over a N1.5 million fraud allegation and sentenced her to prison. She will spend fiveÂ years behind bars.
Mary Eze in conspiracy with other persons still at large was alleged to have at variousÂ times in May 2005 collected several sums of money totalling N1.5 million from OgonnaÂ Ebubedike under the pretense of turning some papers into US dollars for her.
During the trial, the victim, who is a sales girl at a company that sells tarpaulin, toldÂ the court that she was hypnotized by Mary Eze and her accomplice into parting with herÂ employersâ€™ money.
She also told the court she did not realise that she was being duped until the charm theyÂ used to hypnotised her lost its efficacy. By then she said she had already given themÂ about N1.5 million.
One of the 15 charges brought against Mary Eze and her accomplice now at large reads:Â â€œthat you Mary Eze and Mr. Kingsley (still at large ) on or about the 29th day of MayÂ 2005 at Ikeja, within the Ikeja Judicial division, with intent to defraud, obtained theÂ sum of N490,000 by false pretence from Miss Ogonna Ebubedike.â€
The alleged offence committed by Mary Eze is punishable under section 419 of the CriminalÂ Code Cap c17, volume 2, laws of Lagos State Nigeria 2003.
When Mary was arraigned, she initially pleaded not guilty but admitted committing theÂ crime.
Four witnesses, the victim, her boss Mr. Michael Anagwu, and two Economic and FinancialÂ Crimes Commission (EFCC) officials, DSP Ibrahim Mohammed Yidi, testified in the matter.
Delivering judgment on the matter yesterday, Justice Oyewole held that from the evidenceÂ before him, the prosecuting counsel was able to convince the court beyond reasonableÂ doubt that Mary Eze committed the crime she was charged with.
He subsequently sentenced her to five years inprisonment.