Nigerian fraudster jailed after swindling £23,800 meant for Zambian hospital

Cambridge Crown Court
Cambridge Crown Court

A former Anglia Ruskin University student has been put behind bars for swindling £23,800 from a charity due to help a hospital in Zambia.

Abubakar Barma, 20, born and educated in Nigeria, was involved in a money laundering scheme to defraud Sim UK Ltd, an international Christian organisation which sends missionaries to serve in developing countries.

The money had been earmarked to send a truck to the hospital.

Barma, of Sebastopol Road, London, was found guilty of acquiring criminal property at an earlier trial and sentenced to 18 months in prison when he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday.

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth said: “It must hardly be said that taking money from a charity is an extremely grave, aggravated offence.

“A hospital in Zambia in dire need of that aid has been deprived.”

The money has not been recovered by police.

Judge Hawkesworth added: “You are a young man of good character.

“During the course of the trial you insisted that the £23,800 which was put into your bank account came from you knew not where. But afterwards you had made an agreement with someone you only knew as JD, and were told by JD it was a legitimate business transaction. You then transferred it out through your other bank accounts, again solely under the direction of JD.

“It is said on your behalf both that you were not close to the original fraud and you had no idea that the money was being taken from a charity who were intending to use the money for a truck to go to a hospital in Zambia.”

Barma moved to the UK as his family wanted him to receive a good education and improve his prospects.

Simon Smith, mitigating, said: “His father had died some time previously and it’s the inheritance from his father which was used to fund his education that he failed to get.

“The defendant is a homely boy, he’s always been very respectful and well behaved in the past.”

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