A Lagos High Court Judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole yesterday convicted a woman, Mary Eze  over a N1.5 million fraud allegation and sentenced her to prison. She will spend five  years behind bars.

Mary Eze in conspiracy with other persons still at large was alleged to have at various  times in May 2005 collected several sums of money totalling N1.5 million from Ogonna  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, told  the court that she was hypnotized by Mary Eze and her accomplice into parting with her  employers’ money.

She also told the court she did not realise that she was being duped until the charm they  used to hypnotised her lost its efficacy. By then she said she had already given them  about N1.5 million.

One of the 15 charges brought against Mary Eze and her accomplice now at large reads:  “that you Mary Eze and Mr. Kingsley (still at large ) on or about the 29th day of May  2005 at Ikeja, within the Ikeja Judicial division, with intent to defraud, obtained the  sum of N490,000 by false pretence from Miss Ogonna Ebubedike.”

The alleged offence committed by Mary Eze is punishable under section 419 of the Criminal  Code Cap c17, volume 2, laws of Lagos State Nigeria 2003.

When Mary was arraigned, she initially pleaded not guilty but admitted committing the  crime.

Four witnesses, the victim, her boss Mr. Michael Anagwu, and two Economic and Financial  Crimes Commission (EFCC) officials, DSP Ibrahim Mohammed Yidi, testified in the matter.

Delivering judgment on the matter yesterday, Justice Oyewole held that from the evidence  before him, the prosecuting counsel was able to convince the court beyond reasonable  doubt that Mary Eze committed the crime she was charged with.

He subsequently sentenced her to five years inprisonment.

—Henry Ojelu