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ONYIA IFEANYI v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

(2018) LPELR-43941(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 9th day of March, 2018

SC.247/2015


Before Their Lordships

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUMAI BAYANG AKA'AHS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

ONYIA IFEANYI - Appellant(s)

AND

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the offence of obtaining by false pretences and possession of scam or fraudulent documents.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division.
The appellant, who was the accused at the Federal High Court, holden at Enugu (the trial Court), is a graduate of Sociology from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He was alleged to have represented himself as a British businessman with the name, David Gary, a motor spare parts dealer, intending to have business partnership with one Pakawan Samneang, a woman from Thailand. According to the complainant/respondent, the accused/appellant was able to obtain the sum of $45,000.00 twice and another $60.000.00 from Pakawan Samneang upon false pretence and presentation of himself as a British businessman. He had operated through e-mail messages which he originated from his e-mail address - "shewngh@yahoo.com" to some unsuspecting persons whom he had given the impression that he was into motor spare parts business. His operation base was Malaysia.
There was a petition against the appellant to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), Enugu Zonal Office which Swung into action and got the appellant arrested when he visited Nigeria from Malaysia. The appellant was later arraigned and prosecuted at the trial Court upon an amended eleven (11) count charge. The Prosecution called two witnesses and tendered some documents. The appellant testified for himself and called no other witness. At the end of hearing, the learned trial judge found the appellant guilty. He convicted the appellant on all the eleven counts. The appellant was sentenced to seven (7) years imprisonment on each count with the sentences to run concurrently.
Appellant was aggrieved with the decision of the trial Court and he appealed to the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division. After reviewing the judgment of the trial Court, submissions of learned counsel for the respective parties, the Court of Appeal found the appeal lacking in merit and it dismissed same accordingly.
Further dissatisfied, the appellant filed his appeal to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the issues formulated by the learned counsel for the appellant as follows:
"1) Whether the learned justices of the Court below rightly affirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant upon an 11 count charge of advance fee fraud and possession of scam documents when the said charge as laid did not disclose offences cognizable under the law? (DISTILLED FROM GROUND ONE).
2) Whether the learned justices of the Court below rightly affirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant on each of the eight (8) counts of possession of scam documents when there was no proof of receipt of the scam documents by those they were directed at? (DISTILLED FROM GROUND TWO).
3) Whether the retracted confessional statement on the basis of which the appellant was convicted and sentenced by the trial Court and affirmed by the Court below was direct, positive and corroborated? (DISTILLED FROM GROUND THREE)."


DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the Supreme Court found no merit in the appeal. It was thereby dismissed. The Court affirmed the concurrent decisions of both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.


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