An Igbosere High Court in Lagos, on Monday, sentenced a businessman, Jideofor Akpa, to 10 years imprisonment over N30 million fraud.
The convict and his company were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a five-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining under false pretenses, unlawful conversion, and issuance of dud cheques.
Justice K. O. Jose, who gave the verdict, also ordered the convict’s company, International Maritime and Shipping Limited, to pay a fine of N10 million.
Delivering the judgment, the judge discharged and acquitted the convict on the charge of issuance of dud cheques, but convicted him on the charge of obtaining under false pretenses and unlawful conversion of the sum of N30 million.
Consequently, Jose sentenced him to five years on each of the two-count charges and ordered the convict’s company to pay a fine of N5 million on each of the two counts.
He, however, ordered that the jail terms should run concurrently.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convict and his company were first arraigned before the court in 2015.
The offences, according to the anti-graft agency, are contrary to Sections 1(2) and (3) of Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud-related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.
EFCC also said that the offenses contravened Section 1(1) of the Dishonoured Cheque (offenses) Act, Cap. D11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as well as Sections 278(1)(b) and 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The EFCC, in a charge, marked ID/1280c/2015, stated 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.
The commission said that the convict fraudulently obtained the money through his company, International Maritime and Shipping Limited, on the false pretext that the said sum would be used to buy premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol.
The EFCC also stated that the convict had promised to refund the said sum to the complainant, Nowa-Omoregbe, upon complete utilization, with additional N10 million but failed to do so.
The agency also accused Akpa of issuing four cheques in the sum of N10 million each to the complainant but that the cheques were rejected due to insufficient funds in his accounts with Standard Chartered Bank.
The convict had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was admitted to bail on various terms and conditions.
During the trial, the prosecution called six witnesses, including the victim and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO).
The prosecution also tendered several documentary evidence, which was admitted as exhibits by the court.
The convict also testified in the charge and denied all the allegations.