Court jails man 15 years for N16 million crude oil fraud, orders restitution

The Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, on Friday, sentenced Charles Ihenetu to 15 years’ imprisonment for defrauding his victim of N16 million.

The convict was said to have defrauded Emmanuel Amechi by deceiving him into investing the sum of money in a petroleum business deal.

According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ihenetu deceived the victim that bonny light crude was onboard a vessel, Kaveri Spirit, bound for Ghana from Nigeria.

In May 2018, he was arraigned alongside his firm, V-Choice International Company Nigeria Limited, on three counts of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence.

The commission’s statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, stated that the trial judge, Mojisola Dada, convicted the defendants of the offences in a judgment on Friday.

The held that the evidence presented before the court, showed Ihenetu to be “a pathological liar.”

She added that his testimony in the dock and documents tendered by his defence team showed that “everything was calculated to swindle the victim in a non-existent transaction.”

While she jailed him 15 years, she ordered that the company be wound up.

The judge also ordered him to make a restitution of the N16 million proceeds of the fraud to the victim.

Read the statement in full:

EFCC Press Release

Court Jails Man 15 Years For N16m Oil Fraud In Lagos

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Lagos Zonal Office, has secured the conviction and sentencing of a businessman, Charles Ihenetu, to 15 years imprisonment before Justice Mojisola Dada of a Special Offences Court sitting at the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, Lagos.

The convict was arraigned on May 16, 2018 alongside his company, V-Choice International Company Nigeria Limited, on a three-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence.

The offences are contrary to Section 8 (a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No 14, 2006.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges prompting a full trial, which commenced on July 1, 2018.

The prosecution, led by A.B.C. Ozioko, told the Court that Ihenetu was a member of a syndicate that connived to defraud his victim, Emmanuel Osaduwa Amechi, of the said sum, having deceived him to invest in a purported petroleum business involving bonny light crude, onboard a vessel, Kaveri Spirit, bound for Ghana from Nigeria.

Amechi, who paid the money in three tranches to the defendants, had, in October 2015, petitioned the EFCC, after he realised that he had been duped.

The petition was subsequently investigated and the charges filed against the defendants.

To prove the case, the prosecuting counsel, Ozioko, called four witnesses and tendered several documentary evidence against the defendants.

After the prosecution had closed its case, the defence filed a “no-case” submission, which was later dismissed by the Court.

He was, therefore, ordered to open his defence.

The defence, subsequently, called only one witness, Ihenetu.

Delivering her judgment today, March 26, 2021 Justice Dada held that Ihenetu, based on the evidence before the Court, was “a pathological liar”, whose testimony in the dock and documents tendered by the defence showed that “everything was calculated to swindle the victim in a non-existent transaction.”

Justice Dada also held that the Court was satisfied that the prosecution had proved the charges beyond reasonable doubts and sentenced him to 15 years from the date of his remand, May 16, 2018.

The court ordered that the company be wound up and that no property should be left.

Justice Dada further ordered that the sum of N16 million be restituted to the victim.

Wilson Uwujaren

Head, Media 7 Publicity

26 March, 2021

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