Court Jails Company Director 10 Years over N200m Contract Scam

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* Text Box: Two scammers bag four-year jail term over $8,000 COVID-19 fraud

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

Justice M.T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, has convicted and sentenced Mr. Jonathan Alatoru, Managing Director, Chemtronics Nigeria Limited and his company to 10 years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit felony and obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of N200 million.

In another ruling, one Collins Samuel, an alleged fraudster who obtained $8,000 as COVID-19 benefit from the US State of Virginia, was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment by Justice P. Mallong of the Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna, Kaduna State.

Another fraudster, Okoh Kingsley Chukwuemeka also bagged two years in prison for fraud.

Alatoru’s offence runs contrary to Section 1 (2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under Section 1(2) of the same Act.

Justice Mohammed convicted them on March 19, 2021 after pleading “guilty” to amended 11- count charges, following their arraignment by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Based on the defendants’ “guilty” plea, prosecution counsel, J.N. Dogoyaro prayed the court to convict and sentence them, accordingly.

He was not opposed by the defense counsel, Max Ogar.

In his judgment, Justice Mohammed convicted and sentenced the defendants to three years imprisonment on counts 2 to 9 bordering on forgery and uttering.

They were also convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment on counts 10 to 11 bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretense and obtaining money by false pretenses.

The 10 years imprisonment run concurrently.

The court further ordered that the Corporate Affairs Commission should wind up the 2nd convict (Chemtronics Nigeria limited).

In addition, the convicts were jointly ordered to pay back the N200 million fraudulently obtained from Sterling Bank.

The convicts falsely presented a contract document: “Domiciliation of Payment In Respect of Chemtronics Nigeria Limited” to Sterling Bank as an evidence of a valid contract from the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, to secure a loan to the tune of N200million.

The contract was initially awarded by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for a Skill Acquisition Centre in Iguelaba, Benin City, Edo State but was terminated in November 2011.

However, the convicts used documents of the voided contract to obtain the credit facility from the bank on June 1, 2012.

Meanwhile, in another ruling,

Collins Samuel, an alleged fraudster who obtained $8,000USD as Covid-19 benefit from the US State of Virginia, was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment by Justice P. Mallong of the Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna, Kaduna State.

Another fraudster, Okoh Kingsley Chukwuemeka also bagged two years in prison for fraud.

Samuel had upon arraignment on March 11, 2021 pleaded ‘not guilty’ to a one count charge that borders on impersonation and obtaining by false pretences, brought against him by the Kaduna Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He was arrested in Jos, Plateau State, where he fraudulently represented himself as Ashley Coopper, an American citizen affected by Covid–19 and obtained $8,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) from Virginia, United States.

Investigation revealed that Collins redeemed the $8,000 benefit through bitcoin wallet addresses he got from various cryptocurrency traders.

Justice Mallong adjourned the case till March 22, for determination of bail application and trial.

But when the matter was mentioned yesterday the defendant pleaded guilty to an amended charge, prompting the prosecuting counsel, P. C Onyeneho to ask the court to convict and sentence him accordingly.

Justice Mallong consequently convicted and sentenced the defendant to two years imprisonment with an option of N500,000 fine.

The convict is also to forfeit the following items: one Toyota Camry 2010 model car, an HP Elite book 840 Laptop and iPad Model A 1396.

The convict is to pay the sum of $8,000 which is equivalent to N3, 296,696.48 found in his Access Bank Account as restitution to the victim (The State of Viginia) through the United State Embassy, Abuja.

In the same vein, Chukwuemeka who had pleaded ‘not guilty’ to one count charge of impersonation on March 14 when he was first arraigned, changed his plea to ‘guilty’ which prompted EFCC counsel, P.C.Onyeheno, to urge the court to convict and sentence him accordingly.

The trial judge convicted and sentenced him to two years imprisonment with an option of N500,000 fine to be paid to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The convict is also to forfeit, an Apple iPhone 6S, Dell Laptop model 7240, and a Toyota Camry 2010 model car.

The judge, further ordered the convict to pay the sum of $700 as restitution to the victim through the US Embassy, Abuja.