The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Lagos Zonal Office, has secured the conviction and sentencing of a businessman, Charles Ihenetu, to 15 years imprisonment before Justice Mojisola Dada of a Special Offences Court sitting at the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, Lagos.
The convict was arraigned on May 16, 2018 alongside his company, V-Choice International Company Nigeria Limited, on a three-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence.
The offences are contrary to Section 8 (a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No 14, 2006.
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges prompting a full trial, which commenced on July 1, 2018.
The prosecution, led by A.B.C. Ozioko, told the Court that Ihenetu was a member of a syndicate that connived to defraud his victim, Emmanuel Osaduwa Amechi, of the said sum, having deceived him to invest in a purported petroleum business involving bonny light crude, onboard a vessel, Kaveri Spirit, bound for Ghana from Nigeria.
Amechi, who paid the money in three tranches to the defendants, had, in October 2015, petitioned the EFCC, after he realised that he had been duped.
The petition was subsequently investigated and the charges filed against the defendants.
To prove the case, the prosecuting counsel, Ozioko, called four witnesses and tendered several documentary evidence against the defendants.
After the prosecution had closed its case, the defence filed a “no-case” submission, which was later dismissed by the Court.
He was, therefore, ordered to open his defence.
The defence, subsequently, called only one witness, Ihenetu.
Delivering her judgment today, March 26, 2021 Justice Dada held that Ihenetu, based on the evidence before the Court, was “a pathological liar”, whose testimony in the dock and documents tendered by the defence showed that “everything was calculated to swindle the victim in a non-existent transaction.”
Justice Dada also held that the Court was satisfied that the prosecution had proved the charges beyond reasonable doubts and sentenced him to 15 years from the date of his remand, May 16, 2018.
The Court ordered that the company be wound up and that no property should be left.
Justice Dada further ordered that the sum of N16 Million be restituted to the victim