The Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police, PSFU, Ikoyi-Lagos, has re-arraigned an oil marketer, Aleem Suleiman Olaitan, before a Federal High Court in Lagos, over defrauding a foreign company, Topkings Partner (HK) Limited, the sum of $100,000.
PSFU filed four count-amended charges which borders on alleged obtaining by false pretence, operating of a phony oil company and forging of several documents.
The oil marketer was first arraigned before the court on March 8, 2016, on two counts charge of false pretense and with intent to defraud obtained the said sum.
The oil marketer had denied the charges and pleaded not guilty to the offenses.
However, while the matter lasted, the head of the PSFU legal department, a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Emmanuel Jackson, called witnesses as well tendered several exhibits, which were admitted by the court. While the defendant had equally given evidence in defense of the charge against him.
When the matter came up in January, CSP Jackson informed the court of the amended charge against the defendant.
However, the defendant’s lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Chimezie Ihekweazu, vehemently opposed the prosecution’s application for not obtaining the leave of court.
Upon the objection raised by the defense team, the presiding judge, Justice Abdulaziz Anka, ordered parties to file their addresses on whether the prosecution can amend charges without leave of the court.
Justice Anka, ruling on submissions of parties, after citing a series of legal authorities, dismissed the objection raised by the defense and held that the prosecution did not need the leave of the court to amend charges in criminal cases.
The judge consequently ordered that the amended charge be ready for the defendant to take his plea.
In the amended charge, the defendant who operates under the name and style of Alimity Obanisare Oil And Gas Nigeria Limited was accused of inducing a company, Topkings Partner (HK) Limited, to enter into a phony contract with him and falsely claimed to be reliable businessman who could supply crude oil them in China, by falsely told them that he was in a joint venture with NNPC.
He was also accused of fraudulently obtaining the sum of USD 100,000, through his FCMB account, that the money will be used to lift and ship the crude oil to the company in China.
The police also alleged that the defendant directly convert to his use and benefit and to the use and benefits of other people, including his mother, Mrs. Alimi Fausat, the sum of USD 100,000, property of Tokpings Partner (HIK) Limited, the sum he knew was the proceed of an unlawful act, falsely obtained from Topkings Partner (HK) Nigeria Limited, through the medium of a phony contract of supply of crude oil from Nigeria.
He was also alleged to have forged several documents which include: Letter of Authorization; Certificate of Quality; Certificate of Origin; Letter of Acceptance; Certificate of Compliance and a Letter of Introduction, purporting them to have emanated from NNPC and NNPC Joint Venture Operators in Bonny Island, Rivers State, which he allegedly to defraud his victim, Topkings Partner (HK) Nigeria Limited.
CSP Jackson told the court that the offenses contravened sections 1 (1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 but were punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act. And Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012, but punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
The prosecutor also said the offenses contravened section 465 of the Criminal Code, Cap C 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 but were punishable under Section 467 of the same Code. And Section 468 of the Criminal Code, Cap C 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 but punishable under Section 467 of the same Code.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the amended charge.
Upon the defendant’s plea, his lawyer, Kenechi Agazie, who stood in for Ihekweazu (SAN) told the court that since the prosecution had added new counts to the charge, they will need to cross-examine the fourth prosecution witness in the matter.
But the prosecutor told the court that he has closed its case only to adopt its address after the defense closed its case.
Consequently, Justice Anka, while granting the defense request to recall the witness, adjourned the matter to June 19, for continuation of defense.