By Innocent Anaba
The charge filed against AG Moeller Nigeria Limited and its Managing Director Adeloye Olukemi before Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court has been adjourned till March 27.
The defendants are on trial for allegedly conspiring to transact financial business without a valid Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN license.
One of the counts reads: “That you Adeloye Olukemi ‘M’ between March, 2007 and January 2010 at the same place in the aforesaid Judicial Division with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N80m from one Bube Okorodudu, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Cross Country Limited in excess of the capital sum of N140m advanced to him through the medium of a contract of finance lease facility induced by false pretence and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1 (a-c) and Section 1(2) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”
Adeloye and AG Moeller pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A former Chief Accountant at Cross Country, Mr. Godsday Chukwusa, while testifying at of of the trials, said AG Moeller financed Cross Country to the tune of N140 million for the acquisition of 40 buses with a tenor of 24 months at 60 per cent interest rate per annum.
“For a transaction of N228million, Cross Country paid about N223 million, but AG Moeller said the company was still owing N213 million,” the witness said.
According to him, what Cross Country owed AG Moeller, including default charges, was N19million rather than N213million.
He said following AG Moeller’s demand for an outstanding sum of N213million and worried by the “excess charges,” Cross Country’s lawyer, Mr Ladi Rotimi-Williams, SAN, wrote a letter to the Association of Financial Houses after every effort to resolve the dispute failed.
“Chief Williams wrote to the association, which replied that AG Moeller was not a member,” the witness said.
The letter read in part: “We are a victim of AG Moeller Limited which holds itself as a finance house and in so doing has defrauded us. AG Moeller Limited has since 2005 financed four different tranches of equipment purchasing transactions for our company via the finance lease option for over a hundred vehicles.
“Unfortunately, the last finance lease facility offered to us ran into some hiccups and after exhausting all conventional means of conflict resolution to no avail, their unprofessional stance made us very suspicious of their genuineness.
“This led us to approach the Finance House Association of Nigeria, FHAN, to confirm whether the company is licenced by the CBN to conduct the business of finance lease and charge interests. Our fears were confirmed.
“The contentious transaction was a finance lease facility of a principal cost outlay of N140million for a two-year lease effective from February 1, 2008 at an interest rate of 60 per cent per annum with 10 per cent flat and five per cent flat monthly as default rates.
“The company’s criminal claim of N213,142,447.88 as outstanding on the transaction as at January 18, 2011 as per their letter of January 25, 2011 would amount to a whopping sum of N296,058,864.54 as interest/default on the transaction within a period of two and a half years.”