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Oil firm director bags 20 months imprisonment for fraud

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
07 December 2022   |   3:09 am
A Lagos High Court, Ikeja, yesterday, convicted and sentenced the Managing Director of an oil company, Julian Ndubueze Ezeji and his company, Initial Energy Service Limited, Julian Ndubueze Ezeji, to 20 months imprisonment for fraud.

Federal High Court, Lagos

A Lagos High Court,  Ikeja, yesterday, convicted and sentenced the Managing Director of an oil company, Julian Ndubueze Ezeji and his company, Initial Energy Service Limited, Julian Ndubueze  Ezeji, to 20 months imprisonment for fraud.

   
Justice Raliat Adebiyi convicted the defendant and the company in the 14-count charge filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
   
EFCC had arraigned the defendants for dishonestly converting to their personal use, several sums of monies and property of one Onyeka Okoye and Chikatina Petroleum Nigeria Limited being payment for 574,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
   
Their offence contradicted section 285(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011. The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when they were arraigned on March 4, 2016.
   
During the trial, the prosecution called four witnesses, while the first defendant testified for the defence. However, while delivering judgment, Justice Adebiyi held that the prosecution proved the case against him and the company beyond reasonable doubt.
   
The court held that, “defendants converted to their own use, the various costs of the AGO supplied directly and indirectly to them by the complainant in the charge with intention to permanently deprive the nominal complainant of the sum of N81,250,000.00.”
   
The court held that defendants falsely misled the complainant by promising to pay back from sources, which did not exist from the evidence produced by the prosecution.
 
The court found the level of culpability of the first defendant to be high, as he played a major role in the offence, as well as the amount of money involved in the offence.
 
“ The harm caused by the defendants was substantial as the offence led to the foreclosure of the loan of the nominal complaint and ultimately to the death of his wife.
 
“The court in applying the totality principle taking into account the severity of the offence, the aggravating and mitigating factors, shall pursuant to its powers as stipulated in Section 316 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (Repeal and Re-enactment Law 2015) impose a fine on both defendants for all the 14 counts to run concurrently pursuant to the provision of Section 316 (2) of the ACJL, 2015,” the court held.