Alexander Babarinde, a businessman, has been placed under detention at a Federal Correctional Service prison in Ilorin by a Kwara State High Court, presided over by Justice Mahmud Abdulgafar, over allegations of N170 million fraud.
The businessman, his company Ajays Engineering Limited, and one Suleiman Mohammed (who is currently at large) were arraigned before the court on Monday by the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly participating in a contract scam and obtaining money through forgery and false pretence.
The EFCC charged Babarinde, who is from Oro-Ago in the Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, eight counts related to acquiring money under false pretences, together with his company and Muhammad.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Dele Oyewale, the head of the EFCC’s Media and Publicity division, said that the defendants had taken substantial sums of money from the complainant by pretending to fund and carry out certain Federal Government contracts.
Babarinde was accused by the prosecution of bringing several purportedly forged contract award letters from the Office of the Secretary of the Ecological Fund Management Committee to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Development, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University in Katsina, the Universal Basic Education Commission, and the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology.
“But, findings by the EFCC revealed that the letters were forged and never emanated from the said government agencies.
“The defendants had obtained money to the tune of N170 million from the petitioner as capital to execute the non-existent contracts. However, all attempts to recover the money proved abortive,” the prosecution further alleged.
It said that count three of the charges against him reads: “That you, ALEXANDER ADENIRAN BABARINDE, AJAYS ENGINEERING LIMITED and SULEIMAN MOHAMMED (STILL AT LARGE), sometime between January 2021 and December 2021, in Ilorin Kwara State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N30,530,300.00 from one EZEKIEL OLA BABATUNDE as fees for the funding and execution of Federal Government contracts and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”
Count four of the charges read: “That you, ALEXANDER ADENIRAN, BABARINDE, AJAYS ENGINEERING LIMITED and SULEIMAN MOHAMMED (STILL AT LARGE), sometime between January 2022 and December 2022, in Ilorin, Kwara State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N6,655,009.00 from one EZEKIEL OLA BABATUNDE as fees for the funding and execution of Federal Government contracts and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offence Act, 2006 and Punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”
Upon being read the accusations in court, the defendant entered a not guilty plea to each and every one of them.
Rasheedat Alao, the EFCC’s attorney, then begged the court to set a trial date and confine Babarinde in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service so that the prosecution could present its case.
Judge Abdulgafar postponed the case’s trial to March 13, 2024 and directed that the defendant be placed under remand at the correctional service.