The Court of Appeal sitting in Awka, Anambra State has added two years jail term to an earlier five years sentence, (without option of fine) handed to 39-year-old convict, Ikenna Stanislaus Ugwunna by Justice Chudi Nwankwor of Anambra State High Court, Ogidi.
The convict had approached the appellate court for reprieve but got additional jail term as the court held that the trial court did not have the discretion to prescribe the five-year jail term it sentenced the convict for an offence the law stipulates seven years jail term on conviction, hence it reviewed the sentence upward.
Ugwunna’s ordeal started on March 31, 2014 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) South-East Zone arraigned him on six-count charges, bordering on forgery and obtaining by false pretence, contrary to Sections 1(1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 443 (1) of the Criminal Code Law of Anambra State.
Investigations established that the convict sometimes in 2011, fraudulently presented himself as a representative of a Chinese company that deals in vehicle spare parts, upon which he obtained the sum of N12.4million from his victim to make supplies to him.
An EFCC statement said without making the supplies, he diverted the money to his personal use, and frustrated all efforts by his victim to recover his money.
To further cover up his fraudulent act, he forged some sales confirmation receipts, purported to have emanated from Guangzhou Zwei Import and Export Co. Ltd, a Chinese company with branch office in Lagos, which he claimed he represented.
In the course of investigations, he jumped the administrative bail granted him by the commission and absconded to Niger State, where he hibernated for more than a year before he was arrested by the police and handed over to the Enugu Zonal Office of the EFCC.
Counsel for the EFCC, Mainforce Adaka Ekwu, invited five witnesses and tendered several exhibits to prove the case against him before the adoption of final written addresses.
Justice Nwankwor of the trial court found him guilty of counts four, five and six of the charges which contravened Sections 1(1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 443 (1) of the Criminal Code Law of Anambra State and jailed him five years, without option of fine, prompting him to approach the Court of Appeal for a reprieve that earned him additional two years.