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July 25, 2024

Charcoal producers, exporters association president jailed over N7m fraud


Justice H.H. Kereng of the Gombe State High Court has sentenced the President of the National Association of Charcoal Producers and Exporters, NACPE, Edu Babatunde Azeez, to one year in prison over a fraud case involving N7 million.

Azeez and his company, Ablims Limited, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and obtaining under false pretenses.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Gombe State Zonal Command, arraigned Azeez and his company following a petition filed by Ayanbisi Ismail, who alleged that Azeez defrauded him of N7,183,750, and all efforts to get a refund proved abortive.

The charges stated that Azeez and his company fraudulently obtained the money in December 2022, falsely representing it as payment for exporting charcoal to Saudi Arabia.

The two count charge preferred against Azeez read: “That you Edu Babatunde and Ablims Limited sometime in December 2022 at Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court fraudulently obtained the sum of N7,183,750 from one Ayanbisi Ismail by falsely representing the money to be for exporting charcoal to Saudi Arabia, a representation which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 320 and punishable under Section 322 of the penal Code Law.

“That you Edu Babatunde and Ablims Limited sometime in December 2022 at Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired amongst yourselves to do an illegal act to wit: cheating and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 96 and punishable under Section 97(2) of the Penal code Law.”

After pleading guilty, the prosecution counsel, A.B. Kware, requested the court to convict and sentence Azeez as charged.

The defense counsel, Inusa Mahammed, however, appealed for leniency, citing Azeez’s first-time offender status.

Justice Kereng, in his ruling, convicted and sentenced Azeez and Ablims Limited to one year’s imprisonment with an option of a N200,000 fine.





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