Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Lagos Federal High Court, today, remanded an Ibadan-based businessman, Oluwabukola Odeleye, in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), over alleged N186 million fraud and forgery.
Justice Oweibo made the remand order after the businessman pleaded not guilty to the five counts charge of fraud and forgery made against him by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Lagos.
The businessman was arraigned before the court alongside his company, Beedel Strategic Investment Company Limited on all the counts charge.
Arraigning the businessman in a charge marked FHC/L/342c/2022, the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) told the court that the defendant and company committed the offences sometimes in 2020 in Lagos.
The prosecutor who is also the Officer-in-Charge of PSFU’s Legal department, told the court that the defendant and his company, defrauded two companies, Bostocke Close Investment Limited and Ctando Capital Limited, of the said N186 million, with forged Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) of both multinational firms and local firms.
Among the firms whose LPOs were forged by the defendants are: British-American Tobacco Nigeria Limited; Fan Milk Plc; Lafarge Nigeria Limited; National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); G.R. Building and Constructions Nigeria Limited and GB Foods Nigeria Limited.
The prosecutor also accused the defendant and his company, Beedel Strategic Investiment Company Limited of converted a total sum of N816 million to their own use and benefit, which they fraudulenty obtained by false pretences from Bostocke Close Investment Limited and Otando Capital Limited.
He told the court that the offer ndes committed by the defendant and his company, contravened Sections 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 14 of 2006 but punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.
He also told the court that the offences committed by the defendants are contrary to sections 465, 468 but punishable under section 467 of the Criminal Code, Cap. C.38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The businessman however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following his plea of not guilty, the prosecutor while asked the court for a trial date, also urged the court to remand the defendant till the conclusion of the charge.
But counsel to the defendant, Barrister Olabiyi Ademola of Adebiyi Ademola J.E. and Coy, while moving his client’s bail appllication, asked the court to admit him to bail in the most liberal terms.
The counsel assure the court the his client, being a man of integrity, honoured police invitation when he was invited before he was brought to court. Adding that bail is a constitutional right of his client, who is a first time offender.
Opposing the granting the bail application, the prosecutor told the court that the police filed a 14 paragraph-counter affidavit, which elaborated who the defendant commited the alleged offences. He therefore urged the court to refuse the bail application.
Justice Oweibo after listened to counsel’s submissions on the bail application, granted the defendant to bail in the sum of N100 m and one surety in like sum.
The judge also ordered that the surety must be a landed property owner within the Court’s jurisdisction, who is also a Grade Level 14 Civil Servant either in Lagos State or Federal Goveroment Establisnment, with three years tax clearance.
The judge while adjourned the matter till October 25 and 27, for trial, ordered that the bail terms be verified by the prosecution and court’s Registrar, and that the defendant be remanded the defendant in NCoS’ custody till the perfection of the bail terms.
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