The Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos sentenced a businessman to 60 years in prison for a N184 million fraud.
Chukwuemeka Ekwunife was sentenced by Justice Sherifat Solebo after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission found him guilty on counts one through six of the charges brought against him (EFCC).
The judge sentenced him to ten years in prison for each of the six counts, with the terms to run concurrently.
On February 19, 2018, Mr. Ekwunife and his company, Structured Energy Limited, were charged with stealing by fraudulent conversion of an offence in violation of sections 278(1)(b), (2)(f), and 285(1) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.
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According to one of the charges, Mr. Ekwunife and Structured Energy Limited dishonestly converted the sum of N85 million paid to them by M.R.S. Oil and Gas Company Limited, property of Nepal Oil and Gas Limited, to their own use on June 4, 2015.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him at his arraignment.
What the judge ruled
To prove its case against the defendant, the prosecution called six witnesses and presented several pieces of documentary evidence.
The judge stated during his decision, “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, as well as tarnishing the image of Nigeria abroad.” The losses and gains will remain in place.”
The judge sentenced him to 60 years in prison and also ordered that his company be wound up, with the option of paying a N50 million fine.