EFCC Arraigns Three Over N66.5m Scam, Five Others Over Illegal Storage Of Diesel

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, arraigned the trio of Kachy Kennedy Okoye, Usong Ibor Matthew, Igberaese Lawry, before Justice Christopher Balogun of the Lagos High court, Igbosere, on a thirteen count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretence. Specifically, they were alleged to have conspired to defraud one Lady Lora Marire of a total sum of Sixty Six Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N66.5Million) under the pretence of helping to register her as a contractor with the Nigerian Ports Authority and offering her a contract to build one hundred units of duplex at Lekki, Lagos.

Four other individuals involved in the scam are at large. They are:  Tony Elijah; John Williams; Engr. Chude Ngini and Alkali Hammed.

One of the charge reads: “Kachy Kennedy Okoye, Usong Ibor Matthew, Igberaese Lawry, Chekwu Tony Elijah (at large), John Williams (at large), Engr. Chude Ngini (at large) and Alkali Hammed (at large) on or about the 25th day of May 2010 at Ikeja within the ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud conspired to obtain the sum of N39, 100,000.00 (thirty nine Million One hundred naira only) from lady Lora Marire by falsely representing that the said sum represented the sum used by you for the registration of her company as contractor with the Nigerian Ports Authority and the award of a contract to her to build one hundred unit of duplex at Lekki Lagos”.

The three accused persons pleaded not guilty to all charges. Counsel to the EFCC,  Olubunmi Bosede prayed the court to grant two applications filed before it. The first was for an early date for hearing and the second to remand the accused persons in prison custody.  However, the counsel to the first accused person, Gbolahan Samuel told the court that he had filed an application for bail. He requested for a short date for hearing of the bail application and urged the court to remand the accused in EFCC custody due to the fact that he had health challenges.

Counsel to the second accused person, E.S.N Ijeh said he had also filed an application for bail and prayed the court that the accused person be allowed to remain in EFCC custody.  Counsel to the third accused person, Austin Abkunimen, however said he had not filed any application for bail but aligned himself with the prayer of Samuel, claiming also that his client had health challenges.

Justice Balogun, after listening to all their submissions, adjourned the case to November 13, 2012 for hearing of the bail applications.  He ordered that the first accused person be remanded in EFCC custody based on the medical report in his bail application while second and third accused persons are remanded in Ikoyi prison.

Also, the  EFCC, on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 arraigned five suspects before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on a four count charge bordering on conspiracy to store one hundred and eighty five( 185) Metric Tons of automotive gas oil, (also called diesel) without appropriate license.

The suspects: Captain Odeghe Andrew, Engineer Ebinum Alex, Jelili Lateef (still at large), Sunday Buluku (still at large) and Monday Osasuwa (still at large) were arraigned before Justice James Tsoho.

One of the charge reads: “That you captain Odeghe Andrew, Engineer Ebinum Alex, Jelili Lateef, Sunday Bukulu, Monday Osasuwa, on or about 31st May, 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, being the Master-in- Command and crew of the vessel MT. Floris conspired to store aboard the said vessel One Hundred and Eighty Five (185) Metric Tons of automotive gas oil without appropriate license under section 1 of the Petroleum Act, Cap. P9 Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 and thereby committed an offences punishable under section 6 of the Petroleum Act, Cap. P9,
Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004”.

When the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty. Prosecution counsel, Ben Ubi, informed the court that the EFCC was ready to proceed to trial. However, defence counsel, Victor Opare, informed the court that he had filed an application for bail and prayed the court to hear the application. The judge obliged.

He argued that the offence for which his clients were docked is bail able and urged the court to consider the plight of one of the accused persons, Captain Odeghe Andrew who has some health issues, in granting them bail. This claim of ill health was contested by Ubi who demanded proofs from the defence.

Justice Tsoho, after listening to their arguments, admitted the accused persons to bail in the sum of two million naira and one surety in like sum. The surety must be a resident of Lagos and have a property in the metropolis.  He must also be ready to provide original documents of the property and the title verified by the EFCC. In addition, the surety must provide evidence of three years tax payments.

Justice Tsoho adjourned the case to January 22, 2013 and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Ikoyi prison.

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