An Ikeja Special Offences Court has refused to accept in evidence the statement of account containing the details of the indebtedness of a company, Lionstone Energy and Marine Services with First City Monument Bank, FCMB.
Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe rejected the statement of account in a ruling delivered during the resumed trial of a couple, Amaechi and Njide Ndili, both owners and executive officers of Lionstone Offshore Services Limited.
The judge rejected the statement of the company’s account on ground that it does not comply with provisions of the Evidence Act.
Prosecuting counsel, ACP Simon Lough (SAN) had sought to tender the statement after a witness who is a Loan Workout and Recovery officer with FCMB, Odika Okogwu identified it as containing details of the defendants’ company indebtedness to the bank.
The police counsel cited section 89 and 90 of the Evidence Act, to support his submissions and urged the court to admit the documents as exhibit.
But counsel to 1st to 3rd defendants, E. O. Shofunde objected to the admissibility of the documents.
Citing relevant sections of the Evidence Act and some published decided cases of the court to support his submissions, he urged the court to reject the documents, insisting that they have not been proved to be genuine and copy of the original.
Counsel to 4th defendant Charles Obi aligned himself with all the submission made by the senior lawyer, Shofunde.
Earlier, the prosecution witness, Okogwu had told the court how the defendants obtained a $26 million facility from First City Monument Bank, FCMB, to facilitate purchase of vessels.
Led in evidence by Simon Lough (SAN) Okogwu told the court that sometimes in 2007, Lionstone Energy and Marine Services Limited approached the bank and requested and granted $26 million facility to purchase some vessels.
He told the court that the loan facility was structured in such a way that proceeds from the use of the vessels will be domicile with FCMB to defray the loan given to Lionstone Energy and Marine Services Limited from time to time.
He said that in 2014, payments were into the account in two tranches of $1.6 million and $400,000, making a total of $2million.
He said subsequently, payments were not being made as at when due and the account became deliquent.
“So, as a fallback, the bank executed it’s right over financed vessels and proceeds from the sales were also used to reduce the indebtedness of Lionstone to FCMB.
“As at date, Lionstone is still indebted to FCMB”, he said.
Amaechi and Njide Ndili were alleged to have fraudulently converted the sum of $4.6 million said to belong to Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited to their personal use.
The couple were docked alongside Lionstone Offshore Services Limited before Justice Abike-Fadipe by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on a three-count charge of conspiracy and stealing
The police claimed that Lionstone was engaged by Hercules as its local partner and to receive payments on its behalf in respect of contracts it executed for Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Ltd.