A Lagos State High Court in Igbosere on Monday convicted an oil marketer, Jideofor Akpa, and his company, International Maritime and Shipping Limited, over a fraud of N30m.
Justice Kudirat Jose, in a judgment on Monday, sentenced Akpa to a jail term of 10 years and also fined his company the sum of N10m.The convicts had on May 30, 2014, fraudulently obtained the sum of N30m from one Ifeoma Nowa-Omoregbe, the Chief Executive Officer of GDPC Ventures Nigeria Limited under the pretext of using the money to purchase Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
After uncovering the fraud, the EFCC dragged the oil marketer and his company to court sometime in 2015 and arraigned them on five counts bordering on conspiracy, obtaining under false pretences, unlawful conversion and issuance of dud cheques.
The anti-graft agency had told the judge that Akpa and his company reneged on the promise to refund the said sum to Nowa-Omoregbe upon complete utilisation with an additional N10m.
The EFCC noted that the convicts issued four cheques in the sum of N10m each to the complainant. adding that they were rejected due to insufficient funds.
Akpa and his company acted contrary to Section 1 (2) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006 and Section 1(1) of the Dishonoured Cheque (Offences) Act, Cap. D11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
They were also said to have contravened sections 278 (1) (b) and 285 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015.
During the trial, the prosecution called six witnesses, including the complainant, Nowa-Omoregbe, the investigating police officer, and also tendered documentary evidence which was admitted as an exhibit by the court.
In her judgment on Monday, Jose found the oil marketer and his company guilty as charged.
The judge sentenced Akpa to five years each on charges bordering on obtaining under false pretences and dishonest and unlawful conversion of the said sum, but acquitted him on the charges bordering on the issuance of dud cheques.
Justice Jose also fined Akpa’s company the sum of N5m on each count.
She, however, held that the sentences would run concurrently.