A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
Reuters

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered a couple to enter their defence in a three-count criminal charge bordering on advance fee fraud involving the sum of N30m. This was after the court dismissed their no-case submission for lacking in merit.

The couple, Winston Odumu-Ojobi and Patience Odumu-Ojobi along with Atlantic and Pacific Development Projects Ltd, were alleged to have obtained the money by false pretence.

In charge no FHC/ABJ/CR/176/17 the Federal Government said they committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same act.

Prosecution counsel, Dennis Abi of Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), Abuja, told the court that the defendants who had long been arraigned before it also committed an offence contrary to Section (1) (a) and (c) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud related Offences Act, LFN 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

The amended charge dated November 18, 2017 reads: “That you Winston Odumu-Ojobi (being the Managing Director of Atlantic and Pacific Development Projects Ltd), Patience Odumu-Ojobi, and Atlantic and Pacific Development Projects Ltd, sometime in 2015 at Abuja in the Abuja judicial division of the Federal High Court Abuja did conspire with yourselves to commit felony to wit: obtaining the sum of N30, 000, 000.00 by false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offence Act LFN, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

That you Winston Odumu-Ojobi (being the Managing Director of Atlantic and Pacific Development Projects Ltd), Patience Odumu-Ojobi, and Atlantic and Pacific Development Projects sometime in 2015 at Abuja in the Abuja judicial division of the Federal High Court Abuja with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N30m from Nigerian Association of Federal Civil Servants Co-operatives trading under the name and style of NAFESERVCO Plc under false pretence of purchasing rice for members which you knew to be false and did not believe to be true and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) and (c) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offence Act LFN 2006.

Abi further told the court that the defendants used the money in their personal business in disobedience to the express contract agreement that the money should be used strictly for the purchase of rice to members of Nigerian Association of Federal Civil Servants Co-operatives, an offence contrary to Section 312 of the Penal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Although the prosecution closed it’s case after calling witnesses to establish his case, the defendants through their counsel, Emmanuel Ukaegbu, filed a no-case submission claiming that the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie case against them.

But in his ruling on the no-case submission, Justice Taiwo Taiwo dismissed it for lacking in merit and consequently ordered them to enter their defence.

The matter has been adjourned to November 13 and 14, 2019 for the defendants to open their defence.

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