The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, April 24, 2017, presented its first witness to commence the trial of Franklyn Asekhamen, who is facing a two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N11 million before Justice K. N. Ogbonnaya of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Kubwa, Abuja.
The witness, Emeka Nkwor, who was led in evidence by counsel to EFCC, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, narrated how he met the defendant and entered into a business relationship with him.
Nkwor, who is also the nominal complaint and Director, M/S Embridge Global Concept Limited, told the court that Asekhamen expressed a desire to conduct a business relationship with him when both met at a church in Maraba sometime in 2007.
“He (Asekhamen) worshiped as a Deacon in the Assemblies of God Church, Maraba, in 2007 and introduced himself as a staff of FERMA working in the Managing Director’s office. He expressed desire to doing business with me,” Nkwor said.
The prosecuting witness stated that, in 2009, Asekhamen informed him of an ongoing project emanating from the MD’s office, adding that if he was interested to buy the job, he (Asekhamen) could facilitate it, but at a cost of 20% of the expected profit paid to the defendant as a broker fee.
“That job was successfully executed”, said Nkwor.
He further told the court that Asekhamen in 2010, came up with another project that was estimated at N10 million. “Like the previous agreement, I was also expected to buy the job, execute it and then pay 20% as broker fee to the defendant,” Nkwor added.
The witness told the court that, he, however, raised concern when he discovered that, that particular job offer was raised in another company’s name. He said that, Asekhamen persuaded him and even brought a ‘letter’ purportedly written from the company to allay his fears.
According to the witness, after reaching an agreement on the contract, which was expected to be carried out in six weeks, he raised two separate checks of N2million and N8million in Asekhamen’s name, who cashed the money on both occasions.
“I called Asekhamen at the end of the six weeks when nothing was heard from him, to ask of the status of the job and he told me that there were delays on the completion and even showed me a falsified letter of extension by FERMA.
“After sometime, I called him again, he told me FERMA office was gutted by fire and the certificate of completion was burnt. He, thereafter, requested for another N1.3million to perfect the job completion.
“After much persuasion, I paid another N1million making a total of N11million spent on the project”, Nkwor stated.
Justice Ogbonnaya has adjourned to May 25, 2017 for further hearing.