Leonard Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Technologies, has been indicted for a N170 million fraud.
He was said to have colluded with seven other suspects to hijack a contract of about N216.6m awarded to Benjamin Joseph, Managing Director of an Ibadan-based IT retail firm, Citadel Oracle Concept Limited, by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). They were said to have opened an Access Bank account with fake company documents, including a fake board resolution of the company, to receive the money from FIRS.
Joseph had written a petition against the officials of Zinox to Solomon Arase, then Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in charge of Force Criminal Investigation Bureau (FCIB) on July 3, 2014. He accused Chris Ozims, Zinox’s Legal Adviser, of conspiring with Onny Igbokwe, Chief Executive of Ad’mas Digital Technologies Limited and Pirovics Engineering Services Limited, and Princess Kama to hijack the contract. He said the trio colluded to ‘appoint’ Ozims, Folashade Oyebode, a Technologies Distribution director, and Igbokwe as signatories to the fake account.
A certified true copy (CTC) of the Police Investigation Report on the petition obtained by Premium Times showed that Ekeh was listed as the fifth of eight suspects for criminal prosecution after the police concluded its investigation.
The report No. CR: 3000/X/FHQ/ABJ/SEB/Vol.41 dated April 7, 2015 was signed by Olayinka Ajeigbe, then a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Team ‘A’ Leader, Special Enquiry Bureau, Force Criminal Intelligence & Investigation Department (FCIID), Abuja.
The report titled: ‘Re: Case of Identity theft, Impersonation and Criminal Conversion of Contract worth over N170million committed against Citadel Oracle Concept Limited’ was addressed to the Commissioner of Police (Administration), Special Enquiry Bureau, FCIID, Nigeria Police, Abuja.
The suspects listed in the report included “Princess Kama Onyeoma, Chief Onny S.O. Igbokwe, Mr. Chris Eze Ozims, Folashade Oyebode, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Charles Adigwe, Obilo Onuoha, (and) Deborah Ojeabu.” It listed Ekeh as ‘at large’ meaning he did not honour invites to answer questions on his role in the fraud.
The police, in the report, found that the statement of account sent by the FIRS to the SEB FCIID showed that N115.2 million was transferred to Technology Distribution Limited, an affiliate of Zinox, account with Guaranty Trust Bank, while N38 million was moved to Ad’mas Digital Technologies account at Zenith Bank.
Arase was said to have ignored a request by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mohammed Diri’s request for the case file.
On May 8, 2015, Joseph was reported to have written to Arase to remind him of the pending case file to which nothing was done. Frustrated, he petitioned Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the matter.
The EFCC, in its investigation between September 2017 and May 2018, had quizzed all the suspects, including Ekeh and wife, Chioma, who is Managing Director of Zinox Group.
However, three days to the end of Arase’s tenure as IGP, the police charged Joseph to court accusing him of providing false information against Ekeh and other suspects. Arase said the allegations in his July 2014 petition were false.
Surprisingly, the police was said to have presented the suspects accused of fraud against Joseph’s company as witnesses against him at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja.