Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has adjourned further hearing in a $5m fraud case involving the duo of Victor Uadiale and Capt. Everest Nnaji to December 16, 2019.
The suspects were arraigned on Friday, December 14, 2018 on an amended three-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence to the tune of over $5million (Five Million United States Dollars).
One of the counts reads: "That you, Victor Uadiale (aka Victor Emeka/Amaka Emeka), Captain Everest Nnaji and Ismail Lawal (now at large), sometime in 1998 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, with intent to defraud, conspired to commit an offence to wit: obtaining money by false pretence from one Tawfeeq A. Al-Omar, a Kuwaiti National, and committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No. 62 of 1999."
Another count reads: "That you, Victor Uadiale (aka Victor Emeka/Amaka Emeka), Captain Everest Nnaji and Ismail Lawal (now at large) between 22nd April and 12th day of October 1998, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the aggregate sum of $1, 292, 000. 00 (One Million, Two Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand United States Dollar) from Tawfeeq A. Al-Omar , a Kuwaiti national, by falsely representing to him that the said sum represented payment for Urea phosphate fertilizer, which you claimed was procured from National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON) Port Harcourt and Bonny Light Crude oil, which pretext you knew to be false and committed an offence contrary to Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No. 62 0f 1999".
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
At the resumed hearing today, Tuesday, November 26, 2019, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court that the first prosecution witness, PW1, Tawfeeq A. Al-Omar, had to travel to Germany on health grounds.
He, therefore, sought the permission of the court for the first prosecution witness, PW1, Al-Omar, to be further crossed-examined by the defence team through a video call on Skype.
The PW1, Al-Omar, who was further cross-examined through Skype from Germany, told the court that he had nothing more to say and that he had no answer to any question regarding the case.
Al-Omar further told stated that he had told the court everything he knew about the case.
“ I have brought to the court all essential documents needed.
“ I have been bedridden in Germany since I left Nigeria, “ he added.
Counsel to the defendants, Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN and Ola Olanipekun, SAN, respectively told the court that PW1 was not produced for further cross-examination due to his “unwillingness to answer further questions in the course of further cross-examination.”
Consequently, Justice Dada held that the PW1 had told the court all that he knew about the matter and, therefore, discharged him.
Oyedepo also informed the court that he had three more witnesses to call before the prosecution would close its case.
Counsel to the second defendant, Akeredolu, informed the court that an application had been filed seeking the court order for the temporal release of her client’s international passport to allow him travel for a business meeting in Dubai.
However, Oyedepo told the court that he was served with the application a few minutes before the defence counsel informed the court about it, that he would be opposing the application.
“ My Lord, I need time to peruse the application and will respond within the stipulated time, “ he further told the court.
Justice Dada, therefore, adjourned the case until December 16, 2019 for hearing of the application and December 27, 2019 for continuation of trial.
Al-Omar had narrated to the court how he had been lured to come to Nigeria by one Mohammed Lawal Abdullahi, who claimed he was visiting his relative, a diplomat in the Kuwaiti Embassy.
Al-Omar had further stated that he had several meetings with Lawal ,who also told him that he was a business partner with Uadiale and Nnaji and that they could supply Urea Fertilizer to him.
In view of this, Al-Omar had allegedly come to Nigeria and met with the defendants who further told him that they had a deal with NAFCON to lift Urea fertilizer.
Al-Omar, subsequently made payments to the defendants on several occasions.
Al-Omar had further told the court that, while the transactions were going on, the suspects told him that they could also supply Bonny Light Crude Oil, which he paid for.