FG Orders Prosecution of Zinox Chairman’s Blackmailer

Emma Okonji

The federal government has ordered the continuation of prosecution of one Benjamin Joseph, the owner of Citadel Oracle Concepts Limited, an Ibadan-based ICT retail firm and alleged accuser of the Zinox Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh, for alleged malicious falsehood over an alleged N170 million fraud.

The order was communicated via a letter dated June 6, from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba and communicated to the courts by the IGP on September 26, 2022.

This was confirmed in a statement by Matthew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

According to the statement, Joseph has a previous court judgment of N20 million as damages awarded against him by an FCT High Court Abuja, for giving the federal government false information after accusing Ekeh of fraudulently converting a contract awarded to his firm by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2012. Furthermore, the statement revealed that Joseph was facing another criminal charge for false petitioning before Honourable Justice Peter Kekemeke of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja.

The SAN, who disclosed that the clarification was necessary in order for members of the public to disregard various sponsored media reports being circulated online and on social media by Joseph against the Zinox Chairman. He also stated that every available legal means would be employed to address the libelous contents in the referenced publications and seek for appropriate remedies and damages, where necessary.

The statement read in part: ‘‘We act for Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Technology Distributions Limited (TD) and its staff Chioma Ekeh, Chris Eze Ozims, Oyebode Folashade and Charles Adigwe (hereinafter referred to collectively or individually as our clients.

‘‘Our clients have drawn our attention to several online publications, containing some false, distorted and damaging contents in Sahara Reporters of October 2, 2022 titled: Zinox Group Chairman, Wife, 11 Others Face Trial in Nigerian Court over Alleged N170 million contract fraud nine years after.

“A Similar story with the same content was published in Opera news on 29th September, 2022, and in the National Waves on 29th September 2022 titled: Leo Stan Ekeh’s Alleged N170.3 million Fraud Scandal Resurfaces; and also in the News Matrics (online newspaper publication) published on the 30th September 2022.

“Copies of these online publications have gone viral on social media and have been read globally by different persons and diverse groups, who have been worried by the content of the publication and have continued to bombard our clients with calls expressing their utter shock and consternation at the content of the publications.

‘‘First of all, of great concern, is how a straightforward business transaction between two corporate entities, Technology Distributions Limited (TD) and Citadel Oracle Concepts Limited has been skewed in a manner to give the erroneous impression that a personal business was transacted by individuals, to wit: Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, his wife and his named staff with one Mr. Benjamin Joseph.”

Burkaa noted that: ‘‘The Criminal Charge will be coming up before His Lordship, the Hon. Justice U.P. Kekemeke of the FCT, High Court, Abuja on the 3rd day of November, 2022 for the defence of Mr. Benjamin Joseph whose ‘No Case Submission’ had been dismissed by the Court, indicating that he has a case to answer.”

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