Justice Sherifat Solebo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has sentenced a businessman, Chukwuemeka Ekwunife, to 60 years’ imprisonment.
Ekwunife was sentenced over a fraud of N184,098,000.
The prosecutor of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Emeka Okeogwu, on February 19, 2018, arraigned Ekwunife alongside his company on an amended eight counts bordering on stealing by fraudulent conversion, contrary to sections 278(1)(b), (2)(f) and 285(1) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.
The charge read in part, “Chukwuemeka Ekwunife and Structured Energy Limited, on or about the 4th day of June 2015 in Lagos, within the Lagos Judicial Division, dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N85,000,000 paid to you by M.R.S. Oil and Gas Company Limited, property of Nepal Oil and Gas Limited.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to all the charges, prompting the commencement of his trial.
In the course of the trial, Okeogwu called six witnesses and tendered several documentary evidence to prove the case of the prosecution.
The defendant also took to the dock to testify in his defence while denying the charges against him.
Justice Solebo found the defendant guilty on counts one to six and sentenced him to 10 years on each count to run concurrently.
She ordered his company be wound up and following the allocutus of the defence, he was given an option of a fine of N50m.
Justice Solebo said, “It is obvious that many fraudulent activities are being perpetrated by some individuals who are extremely greedy and using the guise of oil subsidy on imported fuel to defraud the country, and also tarnishing the image of Nigeria abroad. The loss and gains will remain where they are.”