Wednesday, March 4, 2009
A NIGERIAN, SENT AWAY FOR 188 YEARS!
In the spirit of "re-branding", a Lagos, Nigeria court sentenced a criminal fraudster to a whopping 188 years behind bars! By this sentence, the Nigeria court is making a statement that it is no longer business as usual for criminal masterminds in Nigeria. Samson Oluwatoyin Lukula was sentenced by an Ikeja High Court, Lagos to virtually a triple life sentence which means he will need to die and come back trice in order to fully serve out the term of years; judging by the average life span of 63years for a typical Nigerian male? Mr. Lukula had passed himself as a qualified accountant (CPA) and obtained a job with his false credentials and thereon the job, defrauded his employers to the tune of over N40 million ($400,000.00)? The court found him guilty on all the 94-count charge of forgery, stealing, uttering and false declaration. According to available information, the convict "went to a notorious slum in Lagos Island, Oluwole and forged several certificates including a University of Lagos (BSc) degree in Accounting; an Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) certificate and a National Youth Service Certificate (NYSC) discharged certificate. With these fake documents, he secured employment as a Finance Manager in an Investment Company in Lagos, without being discovered. Icheoku says, little wonder certificates awarded by Nigerian Institutions of Higher Learning does not worth much outside the shores of Nigeria? Being the master forger he is, Mr. Lukula forged his employer's bank deposit slips and with it diverted company's receipts into his personal account to the sum of N40,000,000.00! He also forged the signature of one of his employer's client and defrauded it of N1.5million ($10,000.00). He was arrested and charged for these crimes. The Court found him guilty on all the counts and sentenced him to two years imprisonment on each of the 94 counts. In addition he refunded the sum of N5.4million and forfeited a N7million property to his victim and was also ordered to re-pay the sum of N500,000 to the victim every month until he amortizes the balance on the N40million defrauded. Icheoku says, this is a step in the right direction and only prays it extends to the political class in Nigeria, who are the real mega-fraudsters. Regrettably, no politician has been convicted and sent away to prison since the fabled EFCC sprung into action; while Nigerians are being inundated daily about the "barking and no biting" anti-corruption agency? Icheoku implores the EFCC to be courageous and take a bite on the political class to regain its relevance amongst Nigerians.