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Ex-Navy Captain bags 13 years for N45m fraud

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo, Lagos and Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
01 October 2021   |   3:00 am
Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has sentenced a retired Navy Captain, Jerry Ogbonna, to 13 years imprisonment for stealing and obtaining money

Nigerian Navy. PHOTO: NAN

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has sentenced a retired Navy Captain, Jerry Ogbonna, to 13 years imprisonment for stealing and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N45 million.
   
The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had arraigned  Ogbonna, alongside his company, Obyke System Consult Limited, for obtaining the sum of N45 million from Diamond Bank Plc, by falsely presenting to the bank that the said money represented the mobilisation fee from the Department of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

 
The convict had previously appeared before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos State High Court in 2016 before the case was struck out after several attempts to have him take his plea.  
 
EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement yesterday said, the matter was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Dada.
 
He was arraigned on April 19, 2018, on a five-count charge, to which he pleaded not guilty.
 
One of the counts reads: “That you, Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna (retd.) and Obyke System Consult Ltd, on or about July 5, 2012, at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, conspired among yourselves to wit; stealing of forty-five Million Naira, properties of Diamond Bank Plc and committed an offence contrary to section 409 and 5(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No.11 of 2011.”
     
Another count reads: “That you, Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna (retired) and Obyke System Consult Ltd, sometime in July 2012 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N45 million properties of Diamond Bank Pic, which was erroneously paid to you by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and was later reversed into your Fidelity Bank account on July 5, 2012,  which you never did, and committed an offence contrary to Section 285(1) and 278(1)b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”

In view of his plea, the prosecution, led by A.B.C. Ozioko commenced trial on January 14, 2019.

 
During the course of the trial, the prosecution called six witnesses and tendered several pieces of evidence to prove the guilt of the defendant.
   
Upon conclusion of the trial, Justice Dada found the defendant guilty and sentenced him to three years imprisonment on count one, seven years on count two and three years on count five respectively.
 
Justice Dada also ordered that the company be wound up and pay a fine of an N5million.
The convict was also ordered to make restitution of N45 million to Diamond Bank Plc.

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