Court Resumes Hearing in N200m Fraud Suit against Ekwunife July 5

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Akinwale Akintunde

An Ikeja Special Offences Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till July 5 the alleged N200 million fraud suit levied against Chumwuemeka Ekwunife and his company, Structured Energy Limited.

The presiding judge, Justice Serifat Solebo adjourned the case for continuation of trial after defendant, Ekwunife testified before it last Wednesday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Ekwunife and Structured Energy Limited on an eight-count bordering on stealing and fraudulent conversion of a total sum of N168.5m from several companies,
According to EFCC, the defendant, who is a former employee of Sterling Bank as Credit Relationship Manager was arrested following a petition received from a complainant, Nepal Oil and Gas Limited

The EFCC alleged that Ekwunife, at different times in 2014, stole the said sum of money from, MRS oil and Gas, Exit Energy limited, Globin oil and Gas limited, Bond Energy, Greenage Energy Limited – all properties of Nepal Oil and Gas Limited.

The commission alleged that the defendant stole the money in tranches of N19 million, N9 million, N85 million, N25 million and N6.5 million sometimes in August, October and November, 2014 from the complaint, Nepal Oil and Gas limited.
The alleged offences contradicts Section 278 (1) (b), (2) (1) and 285 (1) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011. However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.

In his testimony before the court, Ekwunife claimed that Mrs. Ngozi Ekeoma, owner of Nepal Oil and Gas Limited, used him to facilitate false documentations in Liberia in order to obtain money from the federal government through subsidy scheme.

Allegation swiftly rebutted by Nepal Oil and Gas Ltd. The company described as false, malicious, frivolous and at best speculative the testimonies of Ekwunife to the effect that he was used by oil firm to defraud the Federal Government under the subsidy regime.

In a statement issued on June 17, NEPAL dissociated itself from Ekwunife’s testimonies and denied the story which it described as speculative publications.

According to NEPAL, Ekwunife had severally threatened to blackmail the company and its Managing Director, Mrs. Ngozi Ekeoma unless the matter was withdrawn against him. He had resorted to several other acts of blackmails.

The statement said the company “has remained resolute to allow the EFCC perform its statutory duties in the case, as a matter of policy, the company stated.

“Our attention has been drawn Ekwunife’s statement that he was used to defraud the Federal Government of Nigeria under the subsidy regime. NEPAL dissociates itself from, and denies the content of that speculative story in the publication.”