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Fraud: Court convicts senior Lawyer for criminal breach of trust & cheating

A senior lawyer of the Borno State branch of the Nigerian Bar association (NBA), Ahmed Mai-Aji, has been jailed by a Maiduguri court for Criminal breach of trust.

The convicted lawyer whose case was first taken before Justice Umar Fadawu by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC and later transferred to the Chief judge Kashim Zannah was later sent to justice Haruna Mshelia who gave Thursday’s conviction.

Ahmed Mai-aji was re-arraigned on a-three count charge before Justice Haruna Mshelia of the High Court Maiduguri, for the offences of Criminal breach of trust and cheating to the tune of Three Million Naira.

The accused person who is a senior lawyer in the bar was entrusted with a land document for the purpose of intervening in a land dispute between the complainant and another party but he dishonestly disposed that person of that plot in violation of the trust the complainant had for him.

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While the case lingered before justice Fadawu and due to reasons are best known to him, Mai-aji was re-arraigned as a result of an application brought by his counsel barrister Konto seeking an order declining jurisdiction to hear and determine the charge on the ground of bias or likelihood of bias by the judge.

In his ruling on 16th May 2017, Justice Fadau said, “the issue of bias arises as a result of judicial rulings delivered by this court on the grounds of the application brought by the defence counsel for lack of jurisdiction by the EFCC to initiate any criminal matter before this court and the refusal of bail.

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“The Registrar of the court should return the case file to the Chief Judge of the State and I hereby decline jurisdiction not to hear the case. The accused be further remanded in the prison custody.”

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On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Mai-aji was re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC before justice Mshelia.

Prosecution counsel Khalid Sanusi in proving the case tendered seven different exhibits and five witnesses who testified against the convict.

In his judgment, Justice Mshelia stated, that “the court hereby found you guilty of the offences of criminal breach of trust and cheating.”

Count Three of the Charge read: “That you, Ahmed Mai-Aji sometimes in 2016 at Maiduguri Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonestly induced one Baba Bukar to deliver to you the sum of N3m in the name of payment for a Plot of land situated at Pompamari Light Industrial Layout, Maiduguri Borno State, covered by grant of Right of occupancy N0:BO/6057 of 79.1981, which was kept in your custody for the purpose of discharging your responsibility without any right to sell same, contrary to and punishable under sections 320 and 321 of Penal Code Law Cap 102, Laws of the Borno State of Nigeria 1994 respectively.”

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While sentencing Mai-aji on count one, he said, “the court sentenced you to five years in prison without an option of fine. And equally found you not guilty and therefore, discharged and acquainted you on count two.”

“The court found you guilty and convicted you to two years in prison without an option of the fine and the sentence to run concurrently.” On the second count.

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Source:: TribuneOnilne