The Lagos Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, June 25, 2021, secured the conviction and sentencing of Alhaji Olawale Teslim Ogun and his company, Storage Index Limited, for N75million fraud before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
The convicts were first arraigned in February 2019 on a six-count charge bordering on stealing by fraudulent conversion, an offence contrary to Section 278 and 285 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State, 2011.
One of the counts reads: “Alhaji Olawale Teslim Ogun and Storage Index Limited, on or about the 22nd day of February 2017 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N30,000,000 (Thirty Million Naira), property of Fresh and Nourishing International Limited paid to you for the purchase of United States Dollars.”
Another count reads: “Alhaji Olawale Teslim Ogun, on or about the 23rd day of February 2017 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N15,000,000 (Fifteen Million), property of New Vision Agro and Merchandise Limited paid to you for purchase of United States Dollars.”
The first defendant, who was arrested by EFCC operatives on June 13, 2018 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, was alleged to have defrauded Fresh and Nourishing International Limited and New Vision Agro and Merchandise Limited of the total sum of N75,591,000 for the purpose of providing Dollar equivalent of $180,000.
Investigation revealed that he reneged on his promise to provide the Dollars, but went on a spending spree, including wining and dining with women at hotels and diverting all the money to his personal use.
He had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges upon arraignment in 2019, prompting the commencement of his trial.
In the course of the trial, prosecuting counsel, G.C. Akaogu (represented by Franklin Ofoma at today’s proceedings), called five witnesses and presented several documents to prove the case against him.
The defence was subsequently ordered to open its defence, which it failed to do, despite several adjournments granted by the Court for it.
Thereafter, the prosecution urged the Court to close the case and to rule on it.
Delivering judgment today, Justice Dada held that all the elements of stealing were proven by the prosecution, and that despite given the time, the defence failed to open its case.
He was, thus, convicted on all the charges.
Justice Dada sentenced the defendant, whom she described as a “callous and cunning man” to seven years on each count, to begin from February 28, 2019 when he was first remanded by the Court.
The company was convicted on counts four, five and six and ordered to be wound up.
The Judge also held that, if there is any property, it should be sold to recover the money for the petitioners.
Justice Dada ordered full restitution to the petitioners.