An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission informant, Ladeji Babatunde, was arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos for allegedly obtaining the sum of N2.6 million from suspected Internet fraudsters for protection against arrest by the commission.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the EFCC first arraigned the defendant in December 2021 for the alleged crime.
Babatunde was charged with four counts of obtaining money by false pretence contrary to Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.
The charge read in part, “That Ladeji Babatunde on or about 19th 22nd February 2021 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N1, 500,000.00 (One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only from one Chijioke Mmadubue and his syndicate of Internet fraudsters based at Chevron axis of Lekki, Lagos under the false pretence that you will protect them from arrest by the operatives of the EFCC which representation you knew to be false.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In the course of Monday proceedings, delivering a ruling on the trial-within-trial, Justice Taiwo held that “no act of torture was established”.
The prosecuting counsel, Nnemeka Omenwa led the witness, an operative of the EFCC, Bot Toma in evidence.
Toma said that the defendant, an EFCC informant, paraded himself as a staff of the commission and obtained money from the suspected fraudsters with a promise to protect them from being arrested or granted bail when the need arises
Toma said, “The defendant impersonated the EFCC and collected money from suspects with the promise that he will prevent them from being arrested or prosecuted.
“We are able to trace some obtained money to his account which the defendant has used part to build a house in Ogun State. The building has been confiscated and marked by the EFCC for investigation.”
During cross-examination by the defence counsel, O.E Odetoun, said the witness was able to affirm that a petition was written to his office as an intelligent report against the defendant.
Are the authors of the petitions written by the same person or the second exhibit is also from a confidential informant, Adetoun asked?
“The petition came as an intelligent report from confidential informants.
“The defendant used to be our confidential informant among others by name but I don’t know them in person,” the witness replied
Toma said sometime in March 2021, the commission went for an operation in Ogun State and arrested some suspected Internet fraudsters and one among them by name Jacob, disclosed that the defendant collected N800,000 from his family with the promise of protection in the case.
Justice Taiwo further adjourned the matter until August 16, 2022.