An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday remanded an oil trader, Barnabas Akojie, at the Ikoyi Prisons in Lagos, following his arraignment for allegedly defrauding a business partner of $149,950.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akojie was arraigned alongside his two companies – Hanston Oil & Gas Ltd. and Bahanston Oil & Gas Ltd.
They were charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with an eight-count charge, bordering on obtaining by false pretence, forgery and fraudulent conversion.
Akojie, however, denied the charges.
The EFCC Prosecutor, Mr G. C. Akaogu, said the oil trader committed the offences on Nov. 29, 2017 in Lagos.
“The defendant with intent to defraud on two occasions, obtained the sums of $69, 975 and $79, 975 from one Mr Etienne Irazoqui.
“He falsely represented to Irazoqui that the funds were logistics fees for a contract of supply of crude oil under “off-OPEC” basis from Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.
“The defendant forged documents and used his companies to obtain the said sums from the complainant,” he said.
The offences according to the EFCC, contravene Sections 1(1) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 14 of 2006.
Following Akojie’s plea, his Defence Counsel, Mr C. Nmakwe, via summons of bail dated, Aug. 28 prayed that the oil marketer be granted bail by the court.
“The defendant has no criminal record and will not interfere with the proceedings or any of the witnesses if granted bail.
“If the defendant was a flight risk as claimed by the EFCC, he would not have been granted administrative bail.
“I hereby urge the court to discountenance the position of the prosecution and exercise discretion in favour of the defendant,” he said.
Responding, Akaogu via a 32-paragraph counter affidavit, gave reasons why bail should not granted to the defendant.
“The defendant refused to provide a known address right from the inception of the investigation even till when he was apprehended.
“Although administrative bail was granted to the defendant, the terms are now different, the discretion of the court is unfettered by the existence or non-existence of any administrative bail.
“The defendant has up till now not deposited his international passport and if he is granted bail, may be a flight risk,” he said.
The EFCC prosecutor also requested for an accelerated hearing in the case.
In a short ruling, Justice Olusola Williams held that the offences by which the defendants were being tried were not capital offences and were innocent until proven guilty.
The judge, however, noted that liberal bail terms would not be granted the defendant.
She granted Akojie bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum.
“One of the sureties should be a blood relation that resides within the jurisdiction of the court and the other surety must have a landed property.
“Either of the sureties must be a civil servant on Grade Level 14 and above,” she said.
Williams also ordered the oil marketer to deposit his international passport with the registrar and to also furnish the court with his known address.
The case was adjourned to Nov. 7 and Nov. 9 for trial and the defendant was remanded in Ikoyi Prisons, pending the perfection of his bail.