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BREAKING - Court sentences owner of Structured Energy Ltd to ’60 years’ imprisonment for fraud
The Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos has sentenced a businessman to
60 years imprisonment over N184 million fraud.
Justice Sherifat Solebo sentenced the defendant, Chukwuemeka Ekwunife after finding him guilty on counts one to six of the charges proffered against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge sentenced him to 10 years in imprisonment for each of the six-count charges of which the terms are to run concurrently.
Mr. Ekwunife was arraigned on February 19, 2018, alongside his company, Structured Energy Limited, on an amended eight counts bordering on stealing by fraudulent conversion of an offence contrary to sections 278(1)(b), (2)(f) and 285(1) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.
In one of the charges, the EFCC alleged that on June 4, 2015, Mr. Ekwunife and Structured Energy Limited dishonestly converted the sum of N85 million to their own use paid to them by M.R.S. Oil and Gas Company Limited, property of Nepal Oil and Gas Limited.
Upon his arraignment, he pleaded not guilty to the charges proffered against him.
What the judge ruled
The prosecution counsel called a total of six witnesses and tendered several documentary pieces of evidence to prove its case against the defendant.
While delivering judgment the judge said, “It is obvious that many fraudulent activities are being perpetrated by some individuals who are extremely greedy and using the guise of oil subsidy on imported fuel to defraud the country, and also tarnishing the image of Nigeria abroad. The loss and gains will remain where they are”.
Delivering judgment, the judge sentenced him to 60 years imprisonment, and also ordered that his company be wound up or an option of payment of N50 million fine.