• N2bn investment scam: Famzhi boss Mariam Suleiman to spend 5 years in jail

    N2bn investment scam famzhi boss mariam suleiman to spend 5 years in jail - nigeria newspapers online
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    N2bn investment scam: Famzhi boss Mariam Suleiman to spend 5 years in jail

    Famzhi Interbiz Ltd, boss Mariam Suleiman

    Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun

    By Taiye Agbaje

    The Chairman and Managing Director of Famzhi Interbiz Ltd, Mariam Suleiman was on Tuesday sentenced to five years imprisonment without option of fine for defrauding investors of over N2 billion.

    Justice Inyang Ekwo of Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday found Suleiman and her company guilty of the allegations preferred against them in counts one and two by the Federal Government.

    “Upon the provisions of Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act and Section 56(6) of the Securities and Investment Act being read to the defendants, for understanding of the terms of punishment therein.

    “And upon hearing the allocutus of the learned counsel for the defendants and considering same, I am minded not to impose the full punishment on the 1st defendant (Suleiman) particularly,” he said.

    Justice Ekwo, consequently, sentenced Suleiman to three years imprisonment in count one and two years imprisonment in count two which would run concurrently from the date of the order.

    He equally ordered the company to be wound up and all its property to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

    “The said property shall be sold and the proceeds there of used to compensate the victims of this crime,” he declared.

    Earlier in the judgment, he said: “It is clear that the 1st and 2nd defendants conspired among yourselves together with their other staff to do an illegal act.

    “That is, to lure and offer for subscription an unregistered investment collective scheme valued over N2 billion to the unsuspecting general public.

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    “On that note, I find that the offence of conspiracy in count one is proved as required by law and I so hold.”

    Justice Ekwo also held that by the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and the exhibits tendered, it was established that the defendants “ran a scheme in pursuance of which members of the public were invited or permitted to invest money in a portfolio for a participatory interest.

    “This evidence was never controverted by the defendants.

    “The position of the law as settled in many authorities is that evidence adduced in court, that is relevant to the issue in controversy, and has neither been challenged nor successfully debunked becomes good and credible evidence, which ought to be relied upon by a trial judge.”

    He said it was also pertinent to note that the MD herself admitted both in her evidence-in-chief and during cross-examination of running the scheme.

    Recall that the Securities and Exchange Commission has raised alarm in 2022 about the illegal fund management operation conducted by FAMZHI INTERBIZ LIMITED.

    The Commission had noted that while FAMZHI INTERBIZ LIMITED is not registered to operate in the Nigerian Capital Market, the company had proceeded to unlawfully solicit funds from the investing public on product(s) neither registered nor approved by the Commission, with the promise of a guaranteed return on investment in clear violation of the Securities and Investment Act (ISA) 2007.

    SEC had consequently referred the company to the appropriate law enforcement agency for criminal investigation and possible prosecution for violation of the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 and other relevant laws in Nigeria.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) had sued Suleiman and her firm as 1st and 2nd defendants.

    Although they were arraigned on Dec 8, 2021, on two counts bordering on alleged N2 billion fraud, the defendants pleaded not guilty.(NAN)

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