A ‘fake’ fertilizer supplier, Murtala Malami Gombe, has been arraigned by the police before Chief Magistrate Lydia Balogun of a Yaba Magistrates’ Court for alleged N20.9 million fraud. But Gombe pleaded not guilty to the charge, prompting the police lawyer, Morufu Animashaun, to seek for a trial date. The lawyer also urged the court to remand the defendant in prison pending conclusion of his trial.
The defence lawyer, after moving his client’s bail motion, pleaded with the court to admit him to bail in the most liberal terms, saying the defendant is a first-time offender and that the offences against him are bailable. In her ruling on the bail motion, Magistrate Balogun admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N3 million with two sureties in like sum. Magistrate Balogun ordered that the sureties must be civil servants and that they must have evidence of tax payment to Lagos State for three years. While adding that the verification of the bail terms must be done by the prosecution, Magistrate Balogun ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) until the perfection of the bail terms.
The matter has been adjourned to May 19, 2023, for mention. The prosecutor also informed the court that the defendant had approached the fraud victim, Alhaji Rabiu Mahuta, claiming to be working with an international company, Stallion Group of Companies and that the company had a large quantity of fertilizers to sell at the price of N20,9 million. Animashaun stated further that after collecting the money through his bank account, Gombe disappeared into thin air and failed to supply the fertilizer as promised, while also failing to refund the money. The prosecutor added that it took the police extra effort before he was arrested, as he was tracked down at his hideout in Gombe State. Animashaun also notified the court that the alleged offence committed by the defendant sometimes in March 2021, at Apapa, Lagos, contravened Sections 312 and 285(5) of the Criminal Law Ch. C17, Vol. 3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015.