As a result of their involvement in fraud to the tune of $1m, the duo of Mahmud A. Mohammed and Ikechukwu Nkwocha-Philip were on Friday (yesterday) asked to go and stay behind bars for ten years each without option of fine.
The convicts were sent to prison by Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja, Nigeria, who also convicted a company, Al-Maqarinaz International Limited, belonging to Mohammed.
It would be recalled that the convicts were investigated and arraigned alongside Globtec Resources Limited (third defendant) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on a four-count charge, bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of $1,000,000.00 (One Million US Dollars).
Specifically, the case was investigated by former head of the Advance Fee Fraud (AFF) of EFCC headquarter Abuja, SP Omar John Sini who now heads the same session in Lagos Zonal Office.
Count three of the charge reads: “That you Mahmud A. Mohammed being the Chief Executive Officer of Al-Maqarinaz International Limited, Ikechukwu Nkwocha-Philip, Joseph Idoko being the Chief Executive Officer of Globtec Resources Limited (now deceased) and others at large sometime in October 2013 in Abuja within the Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did with intent to defraud, conspired among yourselves to obtain the sum of One Million United State Dollars ($1,000,000) from Ismaila Abdulgaffar, the Chief Executive Officer of Emex Oil Ndawta Limited under the false pretence of supplying him with Nigerian Bonny Light Crude Oil via MT AL Albar a claim you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
But they all pleased not guilty, which led to their trial with the prosecution relying on testimonies and evidence of five witnesses to prove its case.
In her about three hours judgment on Friday, Justice Goodluck noted that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the first, second and fourth defendants.
The judge further declared that there was overwhelming evidence that a vessel, MT AL Albar was never loaded with Nigerian Bonny Light Crude Oil as the convicts claimed they would do for which they fraudulently collected $1,000,000.00 (One Million US Dollars) from their victim, Ismaila Abdugaffar, CEO, Emex Oil Ndawta Limited.
The court found the convicts guilty on counts three and four, attracting 10 years imprisonment which is to run concurrently, and dismissed counts one and two.
The third defendant, Globtec Resources Limited was not convicted.
Apart from the prison term, the convicts are to refund the $1,000,000 proceed of crime to Emex Oil Ndawta Limited while the third defendant is to refund the sum of $20,000.00 (Twenty Thousand US Dollars) that was initially paid by Emex Oil Ndawta Limited to procure a fiduciary account for it.
The convicts’ journey to prison began in 2016, when the victim, Ismaila Abdulgaffar, CEO of Emex Oil Ndawta Limited petitioned the EFCC, alleging that he paid them a sum of $1,000,000 (One Million United State Dollars) for the purchase of Nigerian Bonny Light Crude Oil, loaded on a vessel: MT AL Albar in October 2013 but could neither get the product nor his money back.