Hope Olusegun Aroke, a Malaysia-based undergraduate fraudster and three others — Ibrahim Garuba Tafida, Tafida Gano Investment Limited and Hopes and Oyin Limited — have been arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on two separate charges bordering on false assets declaration, conspiracy and conversion of fund to the tune of over N55m.
Aroke, the first accused who was arraigned on both charges, was first docked on a three-count charge borders on false declaration of assets, while all four accused persons were later arraigned on a four-count charge of conspiracy and conversion of funds.
“That you, Hope Olusegun Aroke (m), Ibrahim Garuba Tafida (M),Tafida Gano Investment Limited and Hopes and Oyin Limited between September and October 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court conspired to convert the sum of N31m to the credit of Tafida Gano Investment Limited and Hopes and Oyin Limited account domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc, which sum you knew represent the proceeds of crime with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said crime and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 14(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition)Act, 2004,” one of the charges read.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Consequently, prosecution counsel, Hauwa Abubakar urged the court to give a short date for trial and that the first and second accused persons are remanded in prison custody.
Defence Counsel, T.O Taiwo told the court that he had filed applications for bail and had served the prosecution since 18th January 2013. He also told the court that the second accused person, Ibrahim Tafida, had been offered administrative bail by the EFCC and did not default. He, therefore, prayed the court to allow him continue with the bail he was earlier granted or remand him in EFCC custody should the court decides otherwise.
Justice Idris chose to offer Tafida bail in the sum of N10m and one surety in like sum, saying the surety must possess a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. He also ruled that Tafida should be remanded in prison custody until he meets the bail conditions. Justice Idris also ruled that the first accused person, Hope Olusegun Aroke be remanded in prison custody. He adjourned the case till 25th January 2013 for hearing of Aroke’s bail application.
Together with one other Malaysia-based undergraduate, Aroke was arrested in December 2012 by operatives of the EFCC at Elite 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos. His accomplice, Ibrahim Tafida, is a Bureau De Change operator through whom Aroke was able to launder proceeds of scam to the tune of N55, 050, 000.