Thu. Apr 15th, 2021

N299.86m Fraud: Court Fixes Jan. 26 For Trial of Petroleum Firm, Others

N299.86m Fraud: Court Fixes Jan. 26 For  Trial of Petroleum Firm, Others

The expected trial of a limited liability company, OBD Petroleum Limited and seven others, who were alleged to have defrauded a new generation bank of the sum of N299.86 million, before a Lagos Federal High Court, could not proceed today due to the absence of the first defendant, Obinna Michael and and his company, OBD Petroleum Limited.

When the matter came up for hearing today, both Obinna, his Petroleum company Limited and their counsel were not in court, the situation which forced the prosecutor, Mrs Kehinde Bode- Ayeni to ask the court to adjourn the defendants’ trial till further date.

Consequently, the trial judge, Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned the matter till January 26,2021 for trial.

The Federal Government through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) had arraigned OBD Petroleum Limited, Michael Obinna and five others before the court for allegedly defrauding the bank of the sum N299.86 million.

Justice Saidu had fixed the date following an application by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF). 

Other defendants charged before the court are, Umeanor; Samson Egbuwoku; Stephen Ohiwere, Ilolo Ogho Gift and Isaac Okorodudu.

They are standing trial for the  offences bordering on conspiracy, obtaining under false pretence, forgery and fraud.
According to an amended charge marked FHC/L/281c/2016, the defendants were alleged to have forged a Zenith Bank Statement of account and used same to defraud the new generation bank of N299.860 million.

All the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences sometimes in October 2014. 

The AGF alleged that the oil company and Obinna Michael Umeanor, by false pretence obtained N160 million from the new generation bank, under the pretence that the money would be used to supply 1,100,000 liters of Automated Gasoline Oil (AGO) popularly called diesel to a firm, Lastan Energy Limited.

The defendants and others now at large were also alleged to have conspired and obtained another N139,860 million from the bank, under the pretext that the money would be used for the same purpose.

To perpetrate the fraud, Obinna was alleged to have forged a Zenith Bank statement of account number 1013015544 belonging to OBD Petroleum Ltd, while Okorodudu, Gift and Egbuwoke forged a Certificate Of Occupancy number 21/21/1991AR, registered in the name of Rotimi Olawoye, of a property located at Lekki Peninsular, Plot 6, Block B2, Eti-Osa area of Lagos State.

The offences according to the AGF contravened Sections 1(1)(a), 8(a), 18(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other related offences Act, 2006 and were punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

The offences also contravened Section 2(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004 and Sections 18(a) and 15(2) of the Money Laundering Act, 2015.

During the defendants’ arraignment last year, prosecutor, Mrs. Bode-Ayeni had prayed the court for a short adjournment, to enable all the defendants to be present in court to take their plea.

She also informed the court of the prosecution’s intention to withdraw charges against the fourth defendant, whom she said would be used as a prosecution witness during the trial of the other defendants.

The defendants, who were represented by O. J. Ozioko; Sam Ogungbamila and Joseph Okobieme, did not oppose the application. The trial judge, justice Saidu, consequently granted her prayer.