Zinox boss, others vindicated in N170m FIRS contract suit
• Awarded N20m as damages
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, High Court has vindicated Zinox Technologies Limited and TD Africa’s position that their chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh; Company Secretary, Chris Ozims; as well as Shade Oyebode and Charles Adigwe, were innocent in the long-drawn case involving a N170 million Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) contract.
The court, yesterday, discharged and acquitted Kama Onyeoma and Chief Onny Igbokwe, partners to Benjamin Joseph, who were accused of fraudulently executing the N170 million contract awarded to Citadel Oracle Concepts, an Ibadan-based Information and Communication (ICT) firm owned by Joseph.
In addition, N20 million was awarded as damages against the complainant for frivolous and malicious petitioning and prosecution.In his ruling, the trial judge, Justice Danlami Senchi dismissed the case as lacking in merit, adding that the prosecution failed to establish the case of criminal conspiracy, forgery and fraudulent use of Mr. Joseph’s documents as alleged. Further, the judge acquitted the duo of all four counts, even as he absolved both defendants – Onyeoma, a long-time associate of Joseph, and Igbokwe – of the criminal charges against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Joseph had petitioned the EFCC, the police and later Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, alleging that his board resolution and other corporate documents were forged to execute the N170 million contract without his knowledge, even when he appointed Onyeoma to execute the contract on his behalf by issuing her a duly executed power of attorney and other corporate documents, all presented to the FIRS.
However, Joseph had also surprisingly accused top officials of TD Africa and Zinox, including Ekeh, of involvement in the alleged fraud, even when Zinox or Ekeh had reportedly not met or transacted any business with Joseph.
The ruling by Senchi upheld the position of Zinox and TD Africa, which had repeatedly insisted on the innocence of its officials, especially in the face of a barrage of sponsored media attacks by Joseph led by an online news medium. Recently, the medium had come up with a report claiming that an unsubstantiated police report had indicted Ekeh, which the police debunked.