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Internet fraudster used “propagation of Islam” to scam victim of 20 million naira

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Justice Zainab Bage Abubakar of the Federal High Court Gusau, Zamfara State earlier this week ruled on a fraud case from Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against one Mohammed Yusuf.

The accused person was convicted of internet scam and handed a 7-year prison term on each of the eleven counts preferred against him by the EFCC.

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Image from the EFCC shows Mohammed Yusuf (left)

Yusuf was first arraigned on 8 April, 2013, the crime watcher said on its website. During the first court hearing, he pleaded innocence to all charges, but later admitted to the crime after more than four years of trial.

The suspect reportedly proposed a plea bargain after discussions between both parties and the EFCC reached an agreement with him.

In its report, the commission stated that Yusuf defrauded the complainant, one Ya’u Mohammed to the tune of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira Only) between November 2012 and January 2013 in a classic advance fee fraud scheme.

To convince his victim, the accused person allegedly posed as a ‘spirit’ named ‘Asmau,’ which he said, was based in Niger Republic.

Asmau made several phone calls to Ya’u and smartly deceived him with a mysterious female voice. The spirit explained she had powers to propagate Islam around Nigeria by establishing mosques and schools, but needed a mortal instrument to achieve the goal.

Ya’u foolishly fell for the trap and willingly offered himself as the human vessel but was later threatened to show loyalty to the spirit or die.

The complainant was forced to make several payments which his prey used to construct a mansion in red bricks area of Kano state and acquire some exotic cars.

Justice Zainab convicted Mohammed Yusuf pursuant to section 270 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 after adopting the plea bargain agreement between the two parties.

‘This court found you guilty of the offence you are charged with and you are accordingly convicted as charged,’  she said.

However, the court stressed that Yusuf’s 7-year prison term will run concurrently counting from the day he was arrested.

The court ordered EFCC to return all personal belongings of the convict that are in their custody. The title document which they included in the plea bargain agreement was also transferred to the nominal complainant as restitution.

Justice Zainab also ordered EFCC to destroy the fake dollars tendered as exhibit EFCC B.

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