Beer vendor jailed for collecting stolen phone from customer as collateral

BY AGNES NWORIE, ABAKALIKI

The Chief Judge of Ebonyi State, Justice Elvis Ngene, has sentenced a beer parlour operator, Ikechukwu Mgbabor, to two years imprisonment for collecting stolen phone as collateral.

The defendant was said to have accepted a stolen phone as collateral from a customer who came to drink without paying at his mother’s drinking joint sometime in May 2020, in Abakaliki.

He was convicted because he could not provide the person that deposited the phone with him as collateral.

Speaking with The Point’s correspondent in Abakaliki, shortly after the judgement, the defendant’s counsel who is also the State Coordinator of Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Marcel Akamabe, thanked the court for the judgement.

Akamabe explained, “The defendant was arrested when a phone allegedly stolen from a robbery incident was traced to him.

“He said he just met the people that gave him the phone and that they were never friends. He said he met them when they were drinking in his mother’s beer parlour. At the point, they had issues while drinking, they had no cash to pay. So, they used one of the phones they had on them as a collateral, hoping that they would return to pay money to retrieve it.

“When he got close to these people, they further told him that they had two other phones with one Chikaodili to be precise and that they would want him to keep the phones for them with the excuse that they would come back to retrieve them. According to the defendant, some days later, Chikaodili sent his girlfriend (Nancy) to tell him to sell the phone and give Nancy the proceed.”

“He said his mother was ill and he did not have cash to take her to the hospital. Innocently, the defendant told him that wouldn’t be a problem. The defendant engaged one Okechukwu, the Okechukwu got the phones from him, took same to the GSM village and sold them. The GSM village people traced the phone to Okechukwu and he identified it as the one he took as collateral,” the counsel said.