The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday secured the conviction and sentencing of Anthony Abomeli to 24 years in prison for N71 million fraud.
The EFCC secured the conviction before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
Abomeli, 73, was arraigned by the EFCC on a nine-count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheques, obtaining by false pretence and stealing to the tune of N71 million.
He was accused of defrauding a company, Nepal Oil and Gas Services Limited, in a business deal that involved the sale of land in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Investigation revealed that at the time the defendant was selling the land to the petitioner, the land had, in fact, been sold to someone else.
One of the counts reads: “Abomeli Anthony Obiekwe, on or about the 22nd day of February 2017, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N71,000,000 from Nepal Oil and Gas Services Limited by falsely representing to the company that the piece and parcel of land, lying and situate at Iyaselensu, Onitsha in Anambra State was available for sale, devoid of any encumbrances when you reasonably ought to have known that the land was already encumbered.”
Another count reads: “Abomeli Anthony Obiekwe, sometime in February 2018 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, issued a United Bank for Africa cheque for the sum of N10,000,000 to Nepal Oil and Gas Services Limited “, which when presented for payment within three months of issuance was dishonoured on the grounds of no sufficient funds.”
Abomeli pleaded not guilty to the charges, prompting full-blown trial.
In the course of the trial, the prosecuting counsel, G.C. Akaogu, called three witnesses and tendered 13 exhibits to prove the case against him.
The defendant, who took to the dock to defend himself, absolved himself of any wrongdoing.
He had, in his examination-in-chief, claimed that the petitioner had pressured him into issuing the said dud cheques and further claimed that he told the petitioner to wait for his instruction before presenting them in court.
Delivering judgment, Justice Dada held that the prosecution successfully proved all the charges against the defendant and found him guilty as charged on all the counts.
The judge sentenced him to two years on counts one to seven, seven years on count eight, and three years on count nine.
The sentences are to run concurrently from January 2019.
A property traced to him was also forfeited as prayed by the prosecution.
He was also ordered to restitute the money to the complainant.