A Special Offences Court sitting at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Friday convicted and sentenced a businessman, Charles Ihenetu, to 15 years imprisonment.
This follows the arraignment of Ihenetu before Justice Mojisola Dada by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The convict was arraigned on May 16, 2018, along with his company, V-Choice International Company Nigeria Limited, on three amended charges bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence.
According to the anti-graft agency, the offences are contrary to Section 8 (a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No 14, 2006.
When the counts were read to him during one of his appearances in court, Ihenetu pleaded not guilty to the charges, prompting a full trial which commenced on July 1, 2018.
The prosecution, led by A. Ozioko, told the court that the convict was a member of a syndicate that connived to defraud his victim, Emmanuel Amechi, having deceived him to invest in a purported petroleum business involving bonny light crude, onboard a vessel, Kaveri Spirit, bound for Ghana from Nigeria.
He noted that Amechi, who paid money in three tranches to the defendants, had in October 2015 petitioned the EFCC after he realised that he had been duped.
The petition was subsequently investigated, leading to the charges filed against the defendants.
To prove the case, Ozioko called four witnesses and tendered several documentary evidence against the defendants.
After the prosecution had closed its case, the defence filed a “no-case” submission, which was later dismissed by the court.
He was, therefore, ordered to open his defence during which he called only one witness – Ihenetu.
Delivering her judgment on Friday, Justice Dada held that Ihenetu, based on the evidence before the court, was “a pathological liar”, whose testimony in the dock and documents tendered by the defence showed that “everything was calculated to swindle the victim in a non-existent transaction.”
She added that the court was satisfied that the prosecution had proven the charges beyond reasonable doubts and sentenced him to 15 years from the date of his remand, May 16, 2018.
The judge, who ordered that the company be wound up and that no property should be left, also directed that the sum of N16 million be restituted to the victim.