Court Jails Businessman 10 Years Over N30m Fraud

A Lagos State High Court in Igbosere has convicted and jailed a businessman, Jideofor Franklin Akpa for ten years over a N30 million fraud.

The trial judge, Justice Kudirat Jose also fined the convict’s company, International Maritime and Shipping Limited the sum of N10 million.

The judge handed down the verdict after she found the convict guilty of the offences brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The convicted businessman and his company, were first arraigned before the court sometimes in 2015 on a five-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining under false pretence, unlawful conversion and issuance of dud cheques.

The offences according to the anti-graft agency are contrary to Section 1 (2) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.

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And Section 1(1) of the Dishonoured Cheque (offences) Act, Cap. D11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The EFCC had further insisted that offences also contravened sections 278 (1) (b) and 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The anti-graft agency had alleged in the charge that the convict on May 30, 2014, fraudulently obtained the sum of N30 million, from one Mrs. Ifeoma Nowa-Omoregbe, the Chief Executive Officer of GDPC Ventures Nigeria Limited, through his company, International Maritime and Shipping Limited, on false pretence that the said sum would be use to buy Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol.

The EFCC also stated that the convict had promised to refund the said sum to Mrs. Nowa-Omoregbe, upon complete utilization with additional N10 million but failed to do so.

The convict was also accused of issuing four cheques in the sum of N10 million each, to the fraud victim but they were rejected due to insufficient funds in his accounts with Standard Chartered Bank.

The convict had pleaded not guilty to the charges when he was arraigned.

And he was admitted to bail by the court on various terms.

During the course of trial, the EFCC called six witnesses, including the fraud victim, the Investigation Police Officer (IPO, as well as tendered several documentary evidence, which were admitted as exhibit by the court.

The convict also testified in his own defence, denying the allegations.

In her judgment, Justice Jose, while acquitted and discharged the convict of the charges of issuing dud cheques, however, convicted him of the charges of obtaining under false pretence, dishonest and unlawful conversion of the said sum.

Justice Jose, therefore, sentenced him to five years each on the two counts.

The court also fined the convict’s company of the sum of N5 million on each of the counts.

The judge however stated that the jail terms are to run concurrently

6th December 2023
Nigerian Pantagraph