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Lagos Court Convicts Three Over N65m Fraud

Lagos Court Convicts Three Over N65m Fraud

INSIDEMAINLAND – The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja Lagos State has convicted Joseph Adele, Richie Ojeba, and John Ogo for N65m fraud.

The plaintiff, Lagos zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made this known via a statement by the Head, Media, and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, on Thursday.
 
Uwujaren stated that the convicts began their journey to prison after they connived to defraud the Managing Director of Wealth Builders Technical Services, Dr. Joseph Mekiliuwa, through a phantom contract they claimed that Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited was offering for the installation of solar panels in the Egi community, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“They were first arraigned in September 2020 on 15 counts bordering on conspiracy, stealing, and obtaining by false pretenses, to which they pleaded not guilty.

“However, on June 17, 2021, they changed their plea to guilty, when they were re-arraigned before the trial judge on amended three counts,” the statement read in part.

One of the counts read, “That you, Joseph Worhabiko Adele (aka Joseph Azunda), Richie Edward Ojeba, John Ovie Ogo, Beauty Wugate Adele (still at large) and Hajia Jemila Yunusa (still at large), sometime in March 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, conspired to steal the sum of  N65,070,000, property of Dr. Joseph Mekiliuwa, Managing Director, Wealth Builders Technical Services.”

The statement further stated that Ojeba was also accused of possessing fraudulent documents used to perpetrate the fraud.

According to Punch, in reviewing the facts against the convicts, the prosecuting counsel, S. O. Daji, told the court that the EFCC received a petition from the complainant in January 2020 accusing the defendants and others of defrauding him.

“Investigation was subsequently carried out and it was discovered that the complainant was defrauded of N65,070,000, with the three defendants being beneficiaries of the fraud,” he said.

Daji also told the court that, while the first defendant got N13,806,000, the second and third defendants shared N22,350,000 and N22,150,000, respectively.

He further informed the court, “As part of the plea bargain, the first defendant has so far refunded N6,000,000 to the complainant; the second defendant has so far refunded N20,000,000, while the third defendant has refunded N12,500,000.”

He tendered in evidence the statements made by the convicts to the EFCC as well as the fraudulent documents obtained from the third defendant.

The statement by EFCC stated that the defendants were all convicted on count one and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.

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