Court jails youth corps member, 2 others for visa scam
Ikeja – An Ikeja High Court on Monday sentenced a National Youth Service Corps member, Helen Bando, to one year imprisonment for using forged documents to process an Indian visa.
The judge, Justice Olutoyin Ipaye, also jailed her accomplices — Samuel Obiakor and Segun Alimi — one year each.
She sentenced the trio after they pleaded guilty to the charge during their re-arraignment by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
The defendants had entered a plea bargain with the ICPC.
According to the deal, each of the defendants will pay a N50, 000 fine and will be sentenced to a maximum of six months imprisonment.
Delivering her judgment, Ipaye noted that Section 75 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State was only to guide the court.
She said the court was not bound by the plea bargain between the defendants and the ICPC.
The judge said the desperation of the first defendant (Bando) to travel outside Nigeria made her to conspire with the others to submit forged documents to the Indian High Commission.
Ipaye said the action of the defendants had brought the country into disrepute and could lead to the denial of visas to other Nigerians with genuine intentions of travelling.
She, therefore, sentenced them to one year imprisonment each without an option of fine on the one count amended charge.
The judge held that Bando’s sentence would begin from the day of the judgment, while those of the other convicts would commence in June 2014 when they were first remanded in prison.
ICPC had filed the charge on Nov.15, 2013.
The ICPC counsel, Mr Paul Bassey, said the defendants conspired to submit forged documents to the Indian High Commission sometime in 2013 to enable Bando obtain the country’s visa.
He said the offences contravened Sections 25(1) and (a), 26 (1), (a) and (c) and Section 96 (1), (a) of the ICPC Act.
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