The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Friday arraigned one Jean Codo and his company, Transport and Port Management Systems Limited, TPMS, before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a seven-count charge bordering on stealing to the tune of Twenty-Nine Million Euros (€29m).
A statement by the commission said that one of the counts reads: “That you, Jean Codo and TPMS Transport and Port Management Systems Ltd, sometime in 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to commit felony, to wit; stealing of about €29,000,000.00 (Twenty-Nine Million Euros), property of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked for a trial date and also urged the court to remand the defendant in The Correctional Centre, pending the hearing of the bail applications.
Justice Dada adjourned the matter to December 18, 2019 for hearing of the bail application and January 3 and 13, 2020 for the commencement of trial.
Justice Dada also ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Centre.
Also, one Balami Abdullahi appeared before Justice Dada, same day on a two-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence and stealing to the tune of N15,800,000.00 (Fifteen Million, Eight Hundred Naira).
The defendant allegedly defrauded one Alhaji Buba Kimba of the said sum by falsely representing to him that he had 40, 000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil to sell.
However, the defendant allegedly failed to deliver the product after payment and all efforts by the complainant to retrieve the money from him proved abortive.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Balami Abdullahi, on or about the 24th day of December, 2018 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, knowingly obtained the aggregate sum of N15, 800, 000. 00 (Fifteen Million Eight Hundred Naira Only) from one Alhaji Buba Kimba under the false pretence that the said sum represented the cost for the sale of 40, 000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, which you had and ready to sell and deliver to the said Alhaji Buba Kimba and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Abass Mohammed, prayed the court for a trial date and asked that the defendant be remanded in prison custody.
Justice Dada adjourned the matter to February 3, 2020 and ordered the defendant to be remanded in prison custody.
Meanwhile, Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday sentenced one Jules Suinner to 10 years imprisonment for N37m fraud.
Justice Obiozor had, on Friday, December 6, 2019, convicted Suinner, but deferred sentencing to today.
The convict was arraigned in September 2016 on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and money laundering to the tune of N37m (Thirty-Seven Million Naira).
Suinner, together with his accomplice, hijacked the email address and letterhead of a company, Greenview Development Nigeria Limited, and used same to write a letter to Access Bank Plc to transfer the sum of N25m( Twenty-five Million Naira) to the account of ICT Aid Foundation Cooperative Society domiciled with United Bank for Africa, UBA.
Investigations showed that the money, which was transferred on July 14, 2015, had been fully withdrawn from the account by July 18, 2016.
The convict, on July 22, 2015, also wrote to Access Bank Plc to transfer the sum of N12, 000,000 (Twelve Million Naira) to the account of one Tee-EM Nigeria Limited domiciled with UBA.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Jules Suinner, on or about the13th day of July 2015, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to obtain money under false pretence, conspired with ICT Aid Foundation Cooperative Society (still at large) and others (still at large) to fraudulently impersonate officials of Greenview Development Nigeria Limited.”
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him, thereby leading to his full trial.
During the trial, the prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, called three witnesses namely Victor Adewale, Adeoti Francis and Okara Godwin, and also tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence.
Justice Obiozor, while delivering his judgment, held that the prosecution had adequate evidence linking the defendant to the offences as contained in the charge and that it had proved its case beyond reasonable doubts.
Consequently, Justice Obiozor found the defendant guilty on all counts and sentenced the defendant to four years imprisonment on counts one and two without an option of fine and 10 years on counts three, four, five and six without an option of fine.
The sentences run are to start from the date of judgment.
The judge further directed that the period the convict had spent in detention from June 29, 2016 and December 8, 2017 be deducted from the jail term.