A.G Moeller not registered by CBN, says Cross Country’s witness
A witness for the Cross Country Nigeria Limited yesterday informed a Federal High Court, Lagos that a firm, A.G. Moeller Limited, is allegedly not registered as a financial services company by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The witness, a former Chief Accountant at Cross Country Limited, Mr. Godsday Chukwusa stated this while testifying in the trial of A.G. Moeller’s Managing Director Adeloye Olukemi.
The police charged him before Justice Okon Abang with allegedly defrauding Cross Country chairman Bube Okorodudu of N80million.
Chikwusa had earlier testified that sometime in March 2007, Cross Country wrote the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, EBN Finance Limited (a subsidiary of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc) and AG. Moeller for finance lease facilities to enable it buy some vehicles.
He said AG Moeller gave Cross Country N140 million to finance the acquisition of 40 buses with a tenor of 24 months at 60 per cent interest rate per annum.
Yesterday, Chukwusa said the total sum payable to AG Moeller Ltd at the end of the tenor stood at N228 million.
“For a transaction of N288million, Cross Country paid about N223million, but AG Moeller said the company was still owing N213million,” the witness said.
According to him, what Cross Country owed AG Moeller, include default charges, was N19million rather than N213million.
He said following AG Moeller’s demand for an outstanding sum of N213million, and worried by the “excess charges”, Cross Country’s lawyer Mr Ladi Rotimi-Williams wrote a letter to the Association of Financial Houses after every effort to resolve the dispute failed.
“Chief Williams wrote to the association which replied that AG Moeller was not a member,” the witness said.
At this point, the police counsel Ralph Nkem sought to tender the letter as well as the reply of the Financial Houses Association.
However, Olukemi’s lawyer Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN) objected to the admissibility of the documents.
He said: “The witness is not the author of the documents sought to be tendered nor is he the addressee. The letter was addressed to Chief Williams, not the witness. The documents are not relevant to the charge before your Lordship. I urge the court to mark them as tendered and rejected.”
Nkem, however, argued that the documents were relevant, adding that the witness was the Chief Accountant when the transactions were made, and now serves as a consultant to Cross Country.
“The documents can be tendered through him, and one of the counts in the charge is that the accused operated a financial house without licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” Nkem said.
In the charge, the police said Olukemi and others at large on March 29, 2007 at 2, Ebun Street, Surulere, Lagos Sin did conspire amongst themselves to transact financial business without a valid license by CBN.
The alleged offence is punishable under Section 517 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Another count reads: “That you Adeloye Richard Olukemi ‘M’ between March, 2007 and January 2010 at the same place in the aforesaid Judicial Division with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N80m from one Bube Okorodudu, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cross Country Limited in excess of the capital sum of N140m advanced to him through the medium of a contract of finance lease facility induced by false pretence and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 1 (a-c) and section 1(2) and punishable under section 1(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”
Olukemi pleaded not guilty to the charges.
After listening the arguments, Justice Abang adjourned till February 24 for ruling on Ogunba’s objection to the documents’ admissibility, and for continuation of trial.
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