Court Frees Nollywood Film Maker, Seun Egbegebe

After spending six years and eight months in prison custody, Nollywood film-maker and producer, Olajide Kareem, aka Seun Egbegebe, has been set free by a Federal High court in Lagos.

Egbegbe was remanded on February 10, 2017, after allegedly obtaining money by false pretence from no fewer than 40 Bureaus De Change (BDC) operators in different parts of Lagos over a period of two years between 2015 to 2017. Naija News reports that he was accused of swindling the BDC operators by claiming that he had naira to change into foreign currencies. The controversial figure in the Yoruba movie industry, was arraigned by the police for alleged fraud involving N39 million, $90,000 and £12,550, N39,098,100, respectively. Unfortunately, the filmmaker who financed the production of several Yoruba films under his Ebony Films Productions imprint had been unable to fulfil the bail conditions more than three years after. He alongside one Oyekan Ayomide were first arraigned on February 10, 2017, before Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, on 36 counts bordering on advance fee fraud. The duo were later joined by Lawal Kareem, Olalekan Yusuf and Muyideen Shoyombo on a 44-count charge. Meanwhile, defendants in Egbegbe’s trial said police cannot establish fraud. However, on Tuesday the court found Egbegbe guilty of just one of the 44 count charges against him and set him free. He was released to go home having exceeded the imprisonment time in detention for the offence he was found guilty of. Justice Oguntoyinbo held that 43 of the 44 count charges were crumbled because of lack of witnesses to substantiate their claims. In addition, the judge held that the prosecuting team failed in the responsibility to provide evidence to be backed with witnesses on Counts 4, 19 and 21. Justice Oguntoyinbo who said that police tampered with the money recovered from the suspects, ruled that all the money recovered from Egbegbe as evidence should be returned to him. Justice Oguntoyinbo held that: “Having considered the entirety of the circumstances and taking judicial notice of the allocutus, I hereby sentence the 1st Defendant (Kareem) to imprisonment for a term of Seven {7} years with hard labour, only in respect of Count 19 of the Amended Charge. “The term is to begin from the very first date the 1st Defendant was detained in police custody and/or remanded in prison, whichever comes first. I so hold. This is to send a clear message to all and sundry, the young and as well as the old, the unknown and the famous that, regardless of the number of days a crime goes unpunished, the law would definitely take its course in due course. “Most importantly, the prosecution witnesses’ contradictory testimonies have failed to satisfy the exact various sums of money contained in the majority of the unviable and unsupported counts of charges filed against the 1st Defendant. I so hold. “From the avalanche of evidence before this Honourable Court, it is crystal clear the Nigerian Police tampered with the various sums of money collected from the 1st & 2nd Defendants. The serial number of the various sum of money was not recorded by the Exhibit Keeper nor the Exhibit Ledger tendered before this Honourable Court. “The Nigerian Police Force, Lagos State Police State Criminal Investigation & Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba and the entire Lagos Police Command and sadly its Legal Department have failed in the discharge of these solemn responsibilities to present the actual exhibits before this Honourable Court. I so hold. “These law enforcement agencies should not be seen to play hanky – panky with crucial items necessary for the determination of issues of this ilk. I so hold. “Therefore, I am inclined to direct the registrar of this Honourable Court to return the 1st & 2nd Defendant’s sums of money entered as exhibits before this Honourable Court back to the 1st and 2nd Defendants respectively. I so hold. “I hereby acquit and discharge the 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Defendants from the charges levelled against them. “This is the judgment of this Honourable Court read in an open court.”

This article was originally published on Naija News


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *