Justice Darius Khobo of the State High Court, Kaduna, on Thursday, sentenced a businessman, Paul Ehiemau, and his company, Black Rock Trading and Logistics Limited, to one year imprisonment for defrauding an oil -servicing company, Stoj Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
The Kaduna Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on September 12, 2017, arraigned the convicts and his company, Black Rock Trading and Logistics Limited on one count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretences to the tune of N15 million.
The charge read: “That you Paul Ehiemau while being the managing Director of Black Rock Trading and Logistics Limited, sometime in February, 2017, at Kaduna within the Kaduna division of the High Court of justice, Kaduna State with intent to defraud falsely obtained from STOJ OIL AND GAS NIGERIA LIMITED, represented by its Country Director, one Stanley Edmond, the sum of N15,000,000.00 ( Fifteen Million Naira), through your company ( Black Rock Trading and Logistics Limited ), account number 0220333930, domiciled with Guarantee Trust Bank Plc; by falsely representing to him that you have the capacity to process through a company, ( Equity Credit Capital Switzerland ) a guarantee bond ( financial instrument) that he will use in financing his project, which transaction you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offence Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”
After the charge was read to them, the defendants pleaded not guilty to it and were remanded in prison custody.
But the convict abused the bail condition granted him and went missing for three years, which led to several adjournments.
The action prompted the prosecution counsel, S.H. Sa’ad, to apply for their trial in absentia, which the court granted.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, June 19, 2020, prosecution told the court that the case had been fixed for judgment.
During the trial, the prosecution presented two witnesses and tendered 11 exhibits.
Justice Khobo, upon review of the case’s facts and evidences tendered by the prosecution, sentenced Paul Ehiemau and his company, Black Rock Trading and Logistics Limited, to one year imprisonment and adjourned till September 29, 2020, and also ordered the arrest of the convicts.
The defence counsel, M.I. Salahudeen, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that his clients were first time offenders.
In another development, Justice Khobo, also convicted and sentenced Jafaru Bashir, who was arraigned by the Commission on one-count charge bordering on criminal misappropriation of fund to the tune of N1.6million.
Bashir’s trouble began when he collected a Suzuki Vectra Jeep, valued at the sum of N1.6 million and sold it and used the money to acquire a shop in Mando Garage, in Kaduna State, in his name.
Sa’ad, after proving his case beyond reasonable doubt, asked the court to convict and sentence the convict, accordingly upon presentation of four witnesses and nine exhibits.
Justice Khobo sentenced the convict to six months imprisonment with an option of N200, 000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira only) fine and ordered that the shop be sold, adding that the convict should pay to the complainant, the sum of N1, 300,000, (One Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira only), for being the amount of the value of the car as a compensation.
Justice Khobo also ordered the convict to pay the sum of N100, 000, (0ne Hundred Thousand Naira only), as investigation cost and falling to do so, will cost him additional one year imprisonment.