Alleged $4.8M fraud: Court grants leave for defence counsel to recall 2 witnesses




An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday granted leave to counsel to two businessmen charged with defrauding their Kuwaiti business partner of 4.8 million dollars to recall some witnesses  for further cross-examination.

Victor Uadiale and Everest Nnaji are charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with defrauding a Kuwaiti businessman of 4.8 million dollars.

During Tuesday’s proceedings at an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Mr U. U Buhari, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, told the court that defence counsel to Uadiale and Nnaji had served the EFFC, motions to recall the witnesses.

“My Lord, I do not think we will be able to proceed, we have been served with two applications by the defence and we will have to reply to same,” he said.

Reacting, Justice Mojisola Dada said that the applications filed by Uadiale’s defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN) and Mr Tayo Oyetibo, the defence counsel to Nnaji, were aimed at stalling the trial.

Ojo, however said it was not so.

“The applications have nothing to do with the continuation of proceedings today. We just want the first and second prosecution witnesses recalled,” he said.

Following Ojo’s denial, Oyetibo requested that a previously adjourned date (April 4) be vacated and that the court sets a new trial date.

“We (defence and prosecution) have all agreed that because the witnesses will not be available for Thursday, let us vacate the date and get another date.

“On both sides, we are looking at the 12th of April just in case the prosecution needs to file an application, they can do so,” he said.

Obliging the request, Justice Dada adjourned the case until April 12 for continuation of trial.

NAN reports that the applications filed by the defence is seeking for an Order of court to recall two Kuwaitis -Mr Tawfeeq Al-Omar (PW1), the complainant and Mr Ayyob Kachery (PW2) for further cross-examination.

The defence also seeks an Order of court to direct the EFCC to produce PW1 and PW2 in court for further cross-examination on the amended five-count charge for which the defendants were re-arraigned on March 22.

The defendants are charged with five-counts of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretences and obtaining money by false pretence.

According to Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the lead EFCC prosecutor in the case, Uadiale who goes by the alias Victor Emeka and Amaka Emeka committed the offence of conspiracy obtain money by false pretence alongside Nnaji and one Ismaila Lawal between 1997 and 1998 in Lagos.

“Uadiale and Lawal between Feb. 24 and March 19 1997, with intent to defraud obtained an aggregate sum of $93,250 from Tawfeeq Al-Omar, a Kuwaiti national.

“The funds were received under the false pretence that it represented the payment for 50,000 metric tonnes of Urea (phosphate fertilizer) which they claimed was procured from National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON).

“On Aug. 11, 1997 in Lagos Uadiale and Lawal fraudulently obtained $282,500 from Al-Omar under the false pretense that the money was payment for 75,000 metric tonnes of diesel procured from the Nigeria
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“Between Nov. 25 1997 and May 18, 2006 Uadiale and Nnaji in Lagos obtained an aggregate sum of $3.5 million from Al -Omar under the pretense that the funds was payment for bonny light crude diesel.

“Also, between Jan. 17, 2007 and Feb. 8, 2011 Uadiale solely obtained $945,000 from Al-Omar by falsely claiming that the money was payment for bonny light crude diesel,” Oyedepo said.

According to the anti-graft commission, the offence contravened the provisions of Section 1(3) and 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 1995. (NAN)




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