Men of the Nigeria Police Force
Precious Ofili, a 45-year-old businesswoman, who allegedly defrauded a market association of N20 million, was on Thursday charged before an Apapa Magistrates’ Court, Lagos.
Vanguard reports that Ofili, who resides in Apapa, pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.
Police Prosecutor Tony Elibeh told the court that the accused committed the offences on March 6 at Article Market opposite Trade Fair Complex, Lagos.
Elibeh alleged that the accused, who was the treasurer of the association, conspired with others now at large and obtained N20 million from members on the pretext of lodging the money in the bank. He claimed that Ofili, who had no intention of keeping the money in the bank, invested it in her business and was nowhere to be seen for a while.
The prosecutor said when the association later demanded for its money, the accused gave flimsy excuses. When the association members got tired of Ofili’s excuses, they reported the case to the police and the accused was arrested after a search, he said.
The offences contravened Sections 285, 312 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised). Section 285 prescribes three years imprisonment for stealing, while Section 312 stipulates a 15-year jail term for obtaining by false pretences.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr Titus Abolarinwa, granted the accused bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties in like sum.
Abolarinwa also directed that the sureties must be gainfully employed and should show evidence of two years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government.
He adjourned the case until April 26 for mention.