The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), has again scored another point in the war against corruption as it has caused a Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere to convict and sentence yet another businessman, Jideofor Franklin Akpa, to 10 years imprisonment over N30 million fraud.
Justice K. O. Jose, who presided over the court also fined the convict’s company, International Maritime and Shipping Limited the sum of N10 million, after being found culpable of the offences leveled against it by the EFCC.
The convicted businessman and his company, were first arraigned before the court sometime in 2015 on a five count- charge of conspiracy, obtaining under false pretence, unlawful conversion and issuance of dud cheques.
The offences according to the anti-graft agency are contrary to sections 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.
The offences also contravened sections 278 (1) (b) and 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The EFCC in a charge marked ID/1280c/2015, stated that the convict had on May 30, 2014, fraudulently obtained the sum of N30 million from one Mrs. Ifeoma Nowa-Omoregbe, the Chief Executive Officer of GDPC Ventures Nigeria Limited, through his company, International Maritime and Shipping Limited, on false pretence that the said sum would be use to buy Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol.
The EFCC also stated that the convict had promised to refund the said sum to Mrs. Nowa-Omoregbe upon complete utilization with additional N10 million but failed to do so.
He was also accused of issuing four cheques in the sum of N10 million each, to the fraud victim but were rejected due to insufficient funds in his accounts with Standard Chartered Bank.
During the trial of the charge, the prosecution called six witnesses, who included the fraud victim, Mrs. Ifeaoma Nowa-Omoregbe, the Investigation Police Officer (IPO, as well as tendered several documentary evidences which were admitted as exhibits by the court.
The convict also testified in the charge and denied all the allegations.
Delivering judgment on the charges, the judge, while acquitting and discharging the convict of the charges of issuance of dud cheques, however convicted him of the charges of obtaining under false pretences and dishonest and unlawful conversion of the said sum of N30 million.
Consequently, Justice Jose sentenced him to five years each on the two counts. While he fined the convict’s company of the sum of N5 million on each of the two counts.
The judge however stated that the jail terms are to run concurrently.