Alleged N43.5million Fraud: EFCC Commences Trial Against NOGASA Chairman

The trial of the Chairman of Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), Philips Fatuyi, charged with N43.5million fraud commences today as two prosecutor witnesses testified.

Fatuyi was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside his company, Oceanview Oil and Gas Ltd. at an Ikeja Special Offences Court.

Led in evidence by EFCC’s counsel, Mr Spife Owede, the first prosecution witness, Mr Princewill Nmerenwanne, a business consultant, said he transferred N43.5 million to Fatuyi sometimes in 2016.

Mr. Nmerenwanne who is the complainant testified that the defendant was to change the said sum into U.S. dollars and return same, but did not do so.

According to him, the money was transferred to Fatuyi’s company account in three tranches of N502,000, N25 million and 18 million on the same day.

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He said that the second prosecution witness, Mr Elochukwu Okoye, made the transfers at the exchange rate of N440 to the dollar at that time, which Fatuyi was supposed to remit 98,870 dollars equivalent t but never did.

Elochukwu Okoye is a bureau de change operator with WAPCIL Nig. Ltd and the owner of Elebana Unique Ventures Nig. Ltd.

Mr. Nmerenwanne said subsequently he approached Police authority and Fatuyi was invited and detained but nothing came out of it.

“I also travelled to Abuja to complain to the Monitoring Unit of the Inspector-General of Police’s office and he was invited and detained, but was granted freedom after a few days.

“I had to run back to Lagos to complain to the EFCC.

“He was arrested and the issue dragged back and forth until he agreed to pay 8,000 dollars monthly; he paid just once and never paid again.

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During cross-examination by defence counsel, Mr Olarenwaju Ajanaku, the lead witness said he made preliminary findings as to why Fatuyi was not repaying the money and that he did not transfer the money personally.

“I did not transfer the money myself. It was Okoye who transferred the money to the defendant and I made some findings and found out that Fatuyi has houses at Oke Afa in Isolo, Lagos, but I did not confirm if he has hotel in Ikeja.

“What I am interested in is retrieving my money. What I was hoping is that the defendant could sell the houses and give me my money,’’ the witness said.

In his testimony, the second prosecution witness, Mr Elochukwu Okoye, testified that he knew Fatuyi in the course of the transaction and that he sent the said sum to his company.

He told the court that the petition he wrote to the EFCC was signed by the complainant, adding that a meeting was scheduled by the EFCC on which the defendant agreed to pay 8,000 dollars monthly but failed as promised.

Thereafter, the presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case to Sept. 30 for continuation of trial.

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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