Travel Agent Bags Ten Years’ Imprisonment for Defrauding Hajj pilgrim

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Justice Oyindamola Ogala of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja has sentenced Alhaji Sharafadeen Irorun to ten years imprisonment for scamming Muslim pilgrims out of their money to the tune of N7,500,000.

The trial judge found Irorun guilty on four counts out of a 12-count charge brought against him by the Lagos State Government, including obtaining by false pretence and stealing.

Justice Ogala held that the defendant and others who are at large are a criminal group and convicted Irorun on Counts 1, 2, 5 and 6.

She said that the defendant and others who are at large are a criminal group who unwittingly dispossessed innocent persons of their money under the pretext of helping them undergo the Hajj pilgrimage.

The judge convicted him on the provision of section 312, 285 (9) (b) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011. She sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment, ordering that the prison term commences on June 6, 2022.

During the trial, the prosecution counsel, Mr O. A. Azeez called three witnesses, including one of the nominal complainants who contributed the money to the defendant.

The judge found that the evidence of the witnesses supported the case and corroborated each other. She acquitted Irorun of the other eight counts in the charge against him, stating that the prosecution had insufficient evidence to convict.

She said that the PW3 told the court that 46 people, including himself, had contributed money and paid the sum of N7,500,000 to the defendant for the procurement of forms from the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Board in 2014.

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The PW3 told the court that he discovered he had been scammed after he requested officials to give him the bag of gifts meant for the pilgrims and was told that their names were not on the list.

The PW3 reported the incident to the police, and they tracked down the defendant to his hometown residence in Osun State, where they discovered other Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Board forms that were fake.

The judge noted that the defendant’s counsel told the court that the prosecution did not bring the Investigating Police Officer on the case to the court to give evidence and argued that the defendant did not take money from the claimants.

The judge held that the prosecution had established that the defendant was part of a criminal group that scams people out of their money under the pretext of pilgrimage.

Source: lawyer Yard

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