The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Uyo Zonal office on Tuesday secured the conviction of one Edidiong Udokpoh for stealing and converting the sum of Five Million Naira (5,000,000) cooperative funds to personal use.
Justice Achibong O. Achibong of the State High Court sitting presided the trial and judgement in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
Upon arraignment, Edidiong pleaded “guilty” to a one-count charge bordering on stealing by conversion to personal use.
This is an offence that runs contrary to the provisions of Section 392(1) of the Criminal Code CAP 38 volume 11 Laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria 2000 and punishable under section 399 of the same Law.
The prosecution through its counsel Adebayo Soares reviewed the facts of the case before the court, and tendered the following documents as an exhibit: A copy of the petition, the statement of the defendant and the response from Corporate Affairs Commission CAC, indicating that the Cooperative Society used by the convict in committing the crime was not a registered business.
On this premise, Soares urged the court to convict the defendant as charged while the defence counsel Dominic Okon quickly prayed the court to temper justice with mercy.
After listening to both counsel, Justice Archibong convicted Udokpoh and immediately sentenced him to three months imprisonment with an option of fine of Fifty Thousand Naira(N50,000), having restituted the entire sum of N5m to the victim.
The convict operated ‘Youth Leading In Business Multipurpose Corporative’, without any form of registration, and used same to lure and defraud an unsuspecting indigene of Akwa-Ibom state to invest in his business, with a bogus promise of 5% interest on investment every 60 days.
According to the petitioner, Mr Idorenyin Umana, the convict introduced a business plan to him, with a lifespan of 12 months, and an accrual interest of 5% every 60 days.
He said the business looked good to him, so he transferred the sum of Five Million Naira into the convict’s Cooperative First bank account.
But when he came to the realisation that the entire business pitch was fake, and the convict was not forthcoming with both his accrued interest and invested capital, he reported the matter to the Commission in 2019.