Fake army general bags seven years imprisonment, forfeits property

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Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos State on Thursday convicted and sentenced a fake army general, Hassan Kareem, aka Bolarinwa Abiodun, to seven years’ imprisonment.

Kareem was convicted after he admitted to using the name of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to defraud a businessman, Bamidele Safiriyu, of N266.5m.

The defendant was arrested at his house in the Alagbado area of Lagos State on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

Kareem was arraigned on April 11, 2022, for falsely representing himself with a forged letter of appointment to the complainant, Kodef Clearing Resources, as a general in the Nigerian Army.

He claimed to have been shortlisted by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) to be appointed as the Chief of Army Staff, and that he needed a short grant to process the appointment.

The defendant pleaded guilty to all the charges.

While ruling on the 13 counts, Justice Taiwo ordered that the convict give the complainant N20m.

The judge also said the defendant should forfeit four vehicles recovered during a search of his home on Joke Ayo Street, Alagbado, and a building on Joke Ayo Street, Alagbado, Lagos.

Among the things he forfeited were a black Range Rover Sport, a black BMW 750 NNI, a black Toyota Land Cruiser and a white Toyota Hilux.

Also, the judge ordered that the First Bank of Nigeria account of Bolarinwa Oluwasegun Abiodun containing N1,400 be closed.

Justice Taiwo said, “The action of the convict shows the length scammers can go to defraud innocent victims. He portrayed himself to be a general and perfected the scam by the level of his education that one wonders if such an individual should be allowed to walk scot-free.

“It is sad that people have given our dear country a bad name and this court intends to send a clear message to scammers.”

Justice Taiwo sentenced the defendant to seven years’ imprisonment without a fine option.