The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Lagos Zonal Office on Thursday secured the conviction and sentencing of one Okoro Samuel Uchechukwu before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
The convict had defrauded one Onoja Usman, Managing Director, Lovonus Trust and Investment Limited, by falsely claiming that he had $130,000.00 to sell to him.
He was subsequently arraigned alongside his company, Jayjingo Nigeria Limited on a two-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N41,600,000 sometime in January 2018.
Count one reads: “That you, Okoro Samuel Uchechukwu and Jayjingo Nigeria Limited, on or about the 10th day of May, 2016 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, dishonestly stole and converted to your own use the sum of N41, 600, 000. 00 (Forty-one Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira) property of Onoja Usman, Managing Director of Lovonus Trust and Investment Limited and committed an offence contrary to Sections 278 and 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.”
Count Two reads: “That you, Okoro Samuel Uchechukwu and Jayjingo Nigeria Limited, on or about the 10th day of May, 2016 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of N41, 600, 000. 00 (Forty-one Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira) property of Onoja Usman, Managing Director of Lovonus Trust and Investment Limited on the representation that you had $130,000.00 (One Hundred and Thirty Thousand Dollars) to sell to Mr. Onoja Usman, which representations you knew to be false and committed an offence contrary to Sections 1(1) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge, thereby setting the stage for his full trial.
In the course of the trial, which commenced on February 5, 2018, the prosecution counsel, S. O. Daji, tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court and presented witnesses who testified against the defendant.
Delivering her judgment, Justice Dada held that the offence of stealing is well known and, therefore, the defendants were not misled.
The Judge further held that: “The defendants and their counsel admitted that the said sum was paid by the prosecution witness. The act of stealing has been established against the defendants in line with Section 282 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State and I hereby convict him on count One.
“In count two, the action of the defendant amounts to obtaining by false pretence since he had an intention to defraud and he is convicted on the count. The witnesses have established the offences against the defendant as they were directly linked to the case and this settles the argument.
“The Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law is clear that, no sinner must go unpunished and no saint punished unjustly. I hereby sentence the convict to 10 years imprisonment.”
Justice Dada also ordered that all the defendant’s assets, both moveable and immoveable wherever they may be traced to in the country, be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.