Justice A.A. Nwobodo of the Enugu State High Court, Enugu, on Monday, March 18, 2019, sentenced one Myke Arisa Onyeike, to 28 days in prison in a case of fake and forged documents which he intended to use to secure the bail of one Ndidi Kalu, who is in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for fraud charges.
Onyeike was arraigned on a one-count charge bordering on cheating and obtaining by tricks.
The charge reads: “That you, Myke Arisa Onyike, (alias Alexander Ebia Okoro) between the 11th – 13th of February 2019, in Enugu, Enugu State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained by tricks the sum of N40,000 (Forty Thousand Naira), from Ndidi Kalu, when you represented to her that you are Alexander Ebia Okoro a staff of Abia State Government, Ministry of Agriculture and capable of standing as a surety to secure her bail at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s office in Enugu which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable by Section 388 of the criminal Code, Revised Edition (Laws of Enugu state of Nigeria, Law, 2004).”
He did not waste the time of the court, as he pleaded “guilty” to the count.
The prosecuting counsel, Anasoh Henry, thereafter, prayed the court to allow his witness present the facts of the case.
His witness, a staff of the EFCC, attached to the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Section told the court how the defendant in a bid to secure bail for a suspect in EFCC custody tendered a bail application, a letter of appointment from the Ministry of Agriculture, Abia State, a letter of promotion to the rank of an Assistant Director from the same ministry, and Identity card all bearing the name “Alexander Ebia Okoro”.
The witness explained that when he led his team members to run a BVN check on Onyike’s phone number using the BVN portal, it was discovered that it had his picture, but with the name “Mike Arisa Onyike”.
According to the witness, when the defendant was confronted with the facts, he admitted that the documents were fake.
Further investigations revealed that the lady who he came to secure bail for had paid the sum of N50, 000 (Fifty Thousand Naira), only and he had shared the money with his friend, one Sunday Ikoro Kalu, who will also be arraigned on March 20, 2019.
The witness explained that when the investigating team further wrote a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Umuahia, Abia State for confirmation, the reply the Commission got from one Christopher Okpara, was that the said “Alexander Ebia Okoro”, has never been a staff of the Ministry.
The defence counsel, A.O. Okpara, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, stating that “the accused is over 60 years old, and a family man as well as a first time offender, following the records before this court”.
He told the court that the defendant had paid back the money that he received from Ndidi Kalu and has been in EFCC custody since February13, 2019, adding that he has shown remorse and has sworn never to go back to the crime again.
“He cooperated well with the operatives of the EFCC”, the counsel pleaded.
In his judgement, Justice Nwobodo sentenced him to 28 days in prison with hard labour, starting from the date he was arrested by the EFCC.