Woman arraigned over alleged N364m, $7m fraud

September 5, 2020
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A former head of logistics at Jezco Oil Nigeria LTD, Blessing Ogwatta, who allegedly defrauded an Ambassador and others to the tune of N364,072million and $7million, was yesterday arraigned before a Federal High court sitting in Lagos.

Ogwatta was docked before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, by Force Criminal Investigation Department (ForceCID) Annex, Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos.

The defendant is facing a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining under false pretence and stealing preferred against her by ForceCID.

The prosecutor, Mr Boniface Asogwa, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), said that the defendant alongside others, who are still at large, committed the alleged offence between November 2012 and August 2019, at SPOG Petrochemical Limited, Wharf, Apapa, Lagos.

Asogwa, told the court that the defendant with an intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of $7 million, from her former employer, Jezco Oil Nigeria Limited, under the pretence of using it for the importation of Base Oil and purchase plots of land for the construction of Blending Plant at Ibeju-Lekki, for the company.

He said that instead of using the money for the purpose she collected it for, fraudulently converted the sum of N7.5 million, part of $7 million, to her personal use, by buying land and building a residential house at Forthright Garden Estate Magboro Obafemi Owode Local Government Area, Ogun State.

She was also alleged to have fraudulently received the sum of N40 million, from one Ambassador Ndubuisi Amaku, for oil and gas business but ended up converting, N27 million, part of the money to her personal use.

Asogwa, further told the court that the defendant, fraudulently obtained the sum of N44, 072 million, from Emeka Okafor under the pretence of doing Additive Importation Business with him, but fraudulently converted N13 million part of the money to her personal use.

The defendant was also alleged to have dishonestly stolen the sum of N18 million, part of N262 million loan obtained by her employer, Jezco Oil Nigeria Limited, from First City Monument Bank Plc.

According to the prosecutor, the offences are contrary to Sections 8(3); 1(a); 1(c) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act. And 390 (9) of the Criminal Act Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the offence.

In view of the defendant’s plea, Asogwa asked the court for a trial date and urged the court to remand her in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) pending the determination of the charges against her.

However, counsel to the defendant, Mr O. Fatoki, informed the court that he has filed the defendant’s bail application and the same has been served on the prosecutor, whom he said had responded.

Justice Oweibo, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N10 million, with two sureties in like sum.

He said that the sureties must be landed property owners within the court’s jurisdiction, and show evidence of tax payment and means of livelihood, to the court.

The judge ordered that the bail terms should be verified by the Court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR).

He also ordered that the defendant should be remanded at ForceCID, Annex, Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, pending the fulfilment of her bail terms.

The case was adjourned till October 22, 2020, for trial.

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