Clearing Agent Faces Trial Over Alleged N7.7M Fraud

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Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi


A Lagos-based clearing agent, Adewale Olukoya Joseph, has been arraigned before a Federal High Court Lagos, for allegedly obtaining the sum of N7.7 million, from a businesswoman under the false pretence.

Joseph, Managing Director of Ham Mark Ventures, is facing a count charge of offence slammed on him by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Ikoyi-Lagos.

Police in the charge marked FHC/L/448c/18, alleged that the defendant had between July and August, 2013, fraudulently obtained the sum of N7.7 million, from one Mrs. Sanya Olatunde Bukola, on the pretence that the said sum will be used in clearing two containers which contained furniture items from China.

The police in the charge alleged that the agent, after receiving the said sum from the importer, failed to clear the container as promised and also refused to return the money to the importer.

The offence according to the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) is contrary to section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences and punishable under section (3) of the same act.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charge. And was admitted to bail with some conditions.

At the resumed hearing of the charge last Thursday, the nominal complainant, Mrs. Sanya Olatunde Bukola, while being cross-examined by the defendant’s lawyer, Mr. Ayo Mafo, told the court that the defendant was introduced to her by one Ayo Akinkanju in 2013 and that he has been clearing her containers since then.

Bukola who is the first prosecution witness in the charge also told the court how she contacted the defendant for clearing of four containers containing Christmas decoration and furniture imported from China.

The witness also told the court that upon contacting the defendant for clearing of the containers, he told him that the total cost for clearing the containers will be N7.7 million which she paid.

The witness further told the court that upon the payment of the N7.7 million as demanded, the defendant only cleared two containers while till today, the defendant couldn’t narrate what happened to the remaining two containers housing the  furniture.

Due to the time constrain, the matter was adjourned till July 5, for continuation of trial.

The charge against the defendant reads: “that you Adewale Olukoya Joseph, operating under the name and style of Ham Mark Ventures, between July and August 2013, In Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with Intent to defraud and by false pretences, obtained the sum of N7.7 Million from Mrs. Sanya Olatunde Bukola, trading under the name and style of Debby, Mega Merchant Ltd, by falsely representing to her that you were a registered clearing agent with the Nigeria Customs Service and that the money represented the cost and expenses for clearing her two (2) containers or of furniture items from China and that once you were paid the money, you are ready, prepared and capable of clearing and delivering the containers to her, which representations you made recklessly or did not believe to be true as you later converted the said money to your own use and benefit and by this conduct, you thereby committed an offence, contrary to section 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”.

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