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Court acquits travel agent accused of Brazilian Visa fraud

An Ikeja High Court in Lagos State on Thursday discharged and acquitted a travel agent, Ifeoma Anagha, charged with fraudulently obtaining a Nigerian Passport and Brazilian Visa.

The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission charged her on two counts of obtaining property by false pretences and stealing.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Hakeem Oshodi held that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the essential ingredients of the offences it charged the travel agent with.

Oshodi held: “The prosecution has failed to prove that the Brazilian Visa that was given to the complainant (Mr Uchenna Okoye) is fake.

“The defendant made a refund of N300,000 to the complainant.

“The complainant was deported and he called the defendant to notify her when he returned to Lagos.

“It was agreed that another Brazilian Visa should be procured for the complainant.”

Oshodi said that based on that, the complainant’s passport was collected and handed over to one Chidi whom the complainant had initially collected the passport and his Brazilian Visa from, before leaving Nigeria.

He said: “The passport and Mr Chidi cannot be located.

“The defendant had paid the complainant a sum of M300,000 in instalments and also procured a fresh international passport for the complainant.

“This was the position before the matter was brought to court.”

Oshodi said that the defendant told the court in her evidence that a brother of the complainant, who had promised to assist him in 2015, told the complainant to hold on with his visa application for some time.

He said that an attempt made by the defendant to use her personal money to obtain a new visa for the complainant proved otherwise.

He held that prosecution also failed to prove the charge of stealing against the defendant.

The judge held that there was no proof that the defendant had the intention of permanently depriving the complainant of his passport.

“The defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted of the two-count charge,” the judge said.

The ICPC had alleged that sometimes in December 2014, the defendant fraudulently obtained a Nigerian International Passport and a Brazilian Visa from Okoye on the false  pretences to procure another Brazilian Visa from him.

The ICPC also alleged that the defendant stole Okoye’s international passport and his Brazilian Visa.

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