On September 28, 2023, the Maiduguri Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) successfully obtained the conviction and sentencing of Goni Muhammad and Seidu Seriki Hamani to seven years imprisonment.
They were found guilty of attempting to sell counterfeit gold that purportedly belonged to former first lady, Patience Jonathan, to their unsuspecting victims.
The duo had been brought before Justice Aisha Kumaliya of the Borno State High Court, Maiduguri, on May 16, 2022, facing two-count charges related to conspiracy and obtaining funds under false pretenses amounting to N26 million.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Goni Mohammad and Seidu Seriki Hamman sometimes in January, 2020 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, did obtained 2 grams of gold at the rate of N26, 492,000.00 (Twenty Six Million Four Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand Naira) allegedly belonging to the wife of the former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan under the false pretence which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
When the charges were read to them, the defendants entered a plea of ‘not guilty’. The EFCC Counsel, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, called three witnesses and submitted numerous documents as exhibits in court. However, the defense counsel, H. Waziri, urged the court to show leniency and take into account their inability to obtain bail after their initial arraignment.
In her verdict, Justice Kumaliya ruled them culpable, and subsequently, they were convicted. They received a seven-year prison sentence for the charge of conspiracy and another seven years for the offense of obtaining under false pretenses. These sentences will begin from the day of their initial arraignment and will run concurrently.
Additionally, the judge directed Mr. Muhammad to either pay the remaining balance of N16,492,000.00 to his victim or face an additional seven years in prison.