Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
Further hearing of the trial of three men who allegedly duped a former House of Representative member, Honourable Eseme Eyiboh of the sum of $1.632 million and N46.5 million, was today adjourned till January 22, 2021.
The three defendants, Izekor Osatohanmwen Ogiemonyi, alias, Prince Joshua Akenzua: Stephen Victor, alias James Ajayi: Bolade Babatunde, and Alhaji Jimoh Saka, a.k.a Tola Ajayi.
The three defendants, were arraigned before before a Federal High Court, Lagos sometimes in 2017, alongside one Bolade Babatunde, a.k.a Honourable Lawal Adewunmi, now deceased.
The defendants were charged before the court by men of Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Ikoyi, Lagos in a criminal charge numbered FHC/L/435c/2017, alleging that the accused persons and others at large, between June 2016 and August 2017, at Jatoz Royal Hotel, Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos, conspired among themselves and falsely presented themselves to Honourable Eseme Sunday Eyiboh, a former House of Representative from Eket Federal Constituency, Akwa Ibom State, as accredited representatives of International Foreign Exchange Monitoring Agency/Bureau, in Nigeria.
Thereafter, the defendants were alleged to have fraudulently collected the sum of $1.362 million in three tranches of $1.230 million, $20, 000, and $112, 000, and the sum of N46, 533 million, from Eyiboh with the pretence that they can use their position to deliver vehicles and industrial machines at affordable and official exchange rates.
The third defendant, Alhaji Jimoh Saka, alias, Peter Ajayi, was also alleged to have supplied the other defendants with the bank accounts domiciled in First Bank and and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) into which the sum of N46. 533 million was paid in by Eyiboh, and later handed over the money to other accused persons.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) are contrary to Sections 8(a), 1(1)(a) and 8(9), and punishable under Sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No. 14 of 2006.
All the accused persons had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to bail in various terms and conditions.
At the resumed trial of the defendants today the fraud victim, Honourable Eyiboh, consistently maintained that the second defendant, Stephen Victor, introduced himself to him as Honourable James Ajayi, adding that, that was the names he maintained while the fraudulent transactions lasted.
When asked by the counsel to the defendant, Solomon Izekor and Sylvester Efem, if he has any evidence to establish his evidence, he stated that his evidence were contained in his statement to the police.
He also told the court that the money which he was defrauded of, were money paid to his company by Mobil Nigeria Limited for the supply of pipelines and 30 seaters Costal buses.
He also told the court that the total contract sum $1.9 million USD, adding that there were documents he signed for the contract.
However, Justice Hassan, turned down the request of the counsel to the second and thire defendants, Mr. Efem to use the uncertified photocopy of Honourable Eyiboh’s company’s application letter to Mobil for the contract, following Mr. Jackson request that it should be rejected and marked as ‘tendered and rejected’, as proper foundation was not made as stipulated by the Evidence Act.
Upon rejecting the document, counsel to the defendants demanded for adjournment, and the matter was adjourned till January 22, 2021, for continuation of cross examination.