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Court sentences fake custom officer to 20 years imprisonment

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A High Court sitting in Ilorin on Thursday sentenced a 34-year-old self-acclaimed custom officer identified as Yakubu Afolayan to 20 years imprisonment.

Justice Mahmood Abdulgafar convicted Afolayan having found him guilty of offences bordering on impersonation and job scam preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC.)

The 34-year-old who hails from Sare in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State was arraigned on March 14, 2019, by the Ilorin Zonal Office of the EFCC.

He was alleged to have paraded himself as a customs officer with which he fraudulently swindled a number of unsuspecting job seekers under the guise of helping them secure employment into the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) before the long arm of law caught up with him.

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The Prosecution alleged that Yakubu Afolayan, between the months of November 2018 and January 2019 in Ilorin fraudulently defrauded and obtained the sum of N267,000 only from one Usman Janet Opeyemi through his UBA account number under the false pretence that he was capable of securing employment for her son with the Nigerian Customs Service; the representation he knew to be false.

The offence according to the prosecution was contrary to Section 1 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same law.

He pleaded not guilty to the counts thereby setting the stage for a full trial.

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In his judgment delivered on Thursday, Justice Abdulgafar opined that from the totality of the evidence placed before the court, the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and linked the accused person to the crime.

He said, “It is very clear from the totality of the evidence of PW1 – PW4 that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubts. It was the evidence of PW1 that the Nigerian Customs Service does not sell its recruitment forms to job applicants, but the defendant was collecting various sum of monies from his victims as application fees. All these evidence were not challenged or controverted by the defendant.

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“Another aspect to be considered in this case is the statements made by the defendant while he was in the custody of the EFCC. The statements were made voluntarily and he (Yakubu) confessed to the crime,” he further said.

“I hereby sentence you, Yakubu Azeez Afolayan to 7 years imprisonment on count 1; 7 years imprisonment on count 2; 3 years imprisonment on count 3 and 3 years imprisonment on count 4, to run concurrently,” the judge ruled.

“The convict is to spend his custodial sentence at Mandala Correctional Centre with effect from November 14, 2019,” he added.

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