€40,000 fraud: EFCC presents witnesses, closes case against defendant

EFCC operatives

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, July 16, 2021, presented two more prosecution witnesses against Abiodun Sodiq, who is facing trial for forgery and conspiracy.

The EFCC presented Ademola Agbetuyi and Haruna Bamaiyi, as prosecution witnesses against Abiodun Sodiq, who is facing trial for a seven-count charge bordering on forgery and conspiracy to the tune of €40,000, before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja Lagos.

The defendant allegedly defrauded a businessman, Babatunde Emmanuel, of €40,000 under the guise that the funds would be used for the Malta Government Citizenship Investment Programme as well as procurement of Malta international passport.

He is also accused of forging two other Maltese international passports in the names of Oyinlola Vincent and Ashinedun Vincent.

At today’s proceedings, the fourth prosecution witness, Agbetuyi, who was involved in the investigation of the case, informed the Court that the passports were scanned and sent to the Embassy that issues Maltese passports.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, S.O. Daji, he added that “The Embassy responded that the passports were forged.”

In his testimony, the fifth prosecution witness, Bamaiyi, a forensic expert at the Commission’s Forensics Laboratory in Abuja, told the Court that the Forensic Laboratory received a request for the analysis of two Maltese international passports sometime in August 2019.

Bamaiyi, who specializes in security documents identification and analysis, enlightened the Court on the various uniquely coded security features of a valid international passport.

“The VSC 8000 was used for comparative analysis to view and know whether the passports in question contained necessary coded features.

He further testified that in analysing the passports, he used one of the EFCC’s sophisticated forensic equipment, the VSC 8000.

He further explained that the equipment comes with the database of all international passports in the world.

Identifying the two passports alleged by the prosecution to have been forged, he confirmed to the Court that the two passports “failed ICAO standard test and were counterfeits.

“They merely bear simulated features of Maltese passports,” he said, adding that “the documents sent to the Forensics Laboratory did not come with the name of the suspect and we only examined the documents sent for forensic analysis”.

Thereafter, Daji informed the Court that the prosecution was closing its case.

Justice Taiwo adjourned till September 21, 2021, for the defence to open its case.

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