Criminal Law

Ex-Navy Captain bags 13 Years imprisonment over N45m Fraud.

A Lagos Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja have sentenced a retired Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna for stealing and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N45 Million.

Justice Mojisola Dada convicted Ogbonna on Wednesday to 13 years imprisonment after the judge said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC have proofed its case beyond reasonable doubt against the defendants.

Ogbonna, alongside his company, Obyke System Consult Limited, obtained the sum of N45 million from Diamond Bank Plc by falsely presenting to the bank that the said money represented the mobilisation fee from the Department of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The convict had previously appeared before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos State High Court in 2016, before the case was struck out after several attempts to have him take his plea proved abortive.

However, the matter was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Dada. He was arraigned on April 19, 2018 on a five-count charge, to which he pleaded not guilty to.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna (retd.) and Obyke System Consult Ltd, on or about the 5th day of July 2012 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, conspired among yourselves to wit; stealing of forty-five Million Naira, properties of Diamond Bank Plc and committed an offence contrary to section 409 and 5(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11 of 2011.”

Another count reads: “ That you, Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna (retired) and Obyke System Consult Ltd, sometime in July 2012 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of (N45,000,000.00) forty-five million naira, properties of Diamond Bank Pic, which was erroneously paid to you by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and was later reversed into your Fidelity Bank account on the 5th day of July, 2012,  which you never did, and committed an offence contrary to Section 285(1) and 278(1)b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”

In view of his plea, the prosecution, led by A.B.C. Ozioko, commenced trial on January 14, 2019. In the course of trial, the prosecution called six witnesses and tendered several pieces of evidence to prove the guilt of the defendant.

Upon conclusion of trial, Justice Dada found the defendant guilty of the offences and sentenced him to  three years imprisonment on count one; seven years on count two and three years on count five of the charge respectively.

Justice Dada also ordered that the company be wound up and pay a fine of N5 Million.The convict was also ordered to make a restitution of N45 Million to Diamond Bank Plc.

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