The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Maiduguri Zonal Office, yesterday, secured the conviction of Ahmed Mai-aji, who was re-arraigned on a-three-count charge before Justice Haruna Yusuf Mshelia of the State High Court Maiduguri, Borno for the offences of criminal breach of trust and cheating to the tune of N3million.
The accused person, who is a senior lawyer, was entrusted with a land document for the purpose of intervening in a land dispute between the complainant and another party, dishonestly dispossessed the owner of the plot in violation of the trust the complainant had for the accused.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalled that Barr Mai-aji was re-arraigned as a result of an application brought by his counsel, Barr SM Konto, seeking an order, declining jurisdiction to hear and determine the charge on the ground of bias or likelihood of bias by Justice Fadawu Umar.
In his ruling on 16th May 2017, Justice Fadawu Umar said, “the issue of bias arises as a result of judicial rulings delivered by this court on the grounds of the application brought by the defence counsel for lack of jurisdiction by the EFCC to initiate any criminal matter before this court and the refusal of bail stands.
“The registrar of the court should return the case file to the chief judge of the state and I hereby decline jurisdiction not to hear the case. The accused be further remanded in prison custody”.
On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Mai-aji was re-arraigned by the EFCC before Justice Haruna Yusuf Mshelia. Prosecution counsel, Khalid Sanusi, in proving the case, tendered seven different exhibits and five witnesses testified against the convict.
In his judgment, Justice Mshelia stated, “the court hereby found you guilty of the offences of criminal breach of trust and cheating”.
Count three of the charge reads: “That you, Ahmed Mai-aji, sometime in 2016 at Maiduguri Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonestly induced one Baba Yusuf Bukar to deliver to you the sum of N3,000,000.00 in the name of payment for a plot of land situated at Pompamari Light Industrial Layout, Maiduguri, Borno State, covered by grant of Right of Occupancy N0:BO/6057 of 79.1981, which was kept in your custody for the purpose of discharging your responsibility without any right to sell same, contrary to and punishable under sections 320 and 321 of penal Code Law Cap 102, Laws of the Borno State of Nigeria, 1994 respectively.”
“On count one, the court sentences you to five years in prison without an option of fine. And equally finds you not guilty and therefore, discharges and acquits you on count two.”
“On count three, the court finds you guilty and convicts you to two years in prison without an option of fine and the sentence is to run concurrently”, Justice Mshelia ruled.
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