Admin l Tuesday, December 6, 2022
IKEJA, Nigeria – Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja today convicted and sentenced the Managing Director of Initial Energy Service Limited, Julian Ndubueze Ezeji and his company to 20 months imprisonment for oil subsidy fraud
Justice Raliat Adebiyi convicted defendant and the company on 14 counts charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). EFFC had arraigned the defendants for dishonest convertion to personal use, several sums of monies property of one Onyeka Okoye and Chikatina Petroleum Nigeria Limited being payment for 574,000 litres of Automative Gas Oil (AGO), contrary to section 285(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011. The defendants pleaded not guilty to the 14 counts charge when they were arraigned on March 4, 2016. During trial, the prosecution called four witnesses while first defendant testified for the defence.
However, while delivering judgement, Justice Adebiyi held that the prosecution proved the case against him and the company beyond reasonable doubt.
The court held that, “defendants converted to their own use, the various cost of the AGO supplied directly and indirectly to them by the complainant in the 14 count charge with intention to permanently deprive the nominal complainant of the sum of #81,250,000.00.”
The court held that defendants falsely misled the complainant by promise to pay back from sources which did not exist from the evidence produce by the prosecution.
The court finds the level of culpability of the 1st defendant to be high as he played a major role in the offence, also the amount of money involved in the offence was high. ” The harm caused by the defendants was substantial as the offence lead to the foreclosure of the loan of the nominal complaint and ultimately to the death of his wife.
“The court in applying the totality principle taking into account the severity of the offence, the aggravating and mitigating factors, shall pursuant to its powers as stipulated in Section 316 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (Repeal and Re-enactment Law 2015) impose a fine on both defendants for all the 14 counts to run concurrently pursuant to the provision of Section 316 (2) of the ACJL, 2015.”
Justice Adebiyi imposed fine of N5 million against the 1st defendant for all 14 counts, she ordered that default of payment shall attract a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 months.
” The 2nd defendant, company is hereby also ordered to pay a fine in the sum of N2 million within three months hereof, failing which the Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission shall be served a copy of this order to strike out the name of the company from the Nigerian Company’s Register.
” The defendants shall make restitution to the nominal complainants; Chikatina Petroleum Limited in the sum of N10 Million within three months, failing which it will attract a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven months”.
Justice Adebiyi also ordered that defendant shall be remanded in custody pending the payments of the fines.