Justice Ibrahim N. Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, on Thursday 28th June, 2012, convicted two brothers, Collins Avoaja and Ikechukwu Avoaja to seven years imprisonment each on the 13 count charge of fraud and obtaining money under false pretence preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The sentence which starts counting from June 29, 2012, is without an option of a fine. It will however run concurrently. Their company, CeeCee Concept Multiple Nigeria Limited which was the channel through which they carried out their fraudulent transactions was also convicted.
The court ordered the accused persons to pay back the worth of the bank guarantee in the sum of N25, 000,000.00 (Twenty Five Million Naira) to Fidelity Bank Plc as restitution.
It would be recalled that in October 2008, CeeCee Concept Nigeria Limited was availed a Bank guarantee to the tune of N25, 000,000.00 (Twenty Five Million Naira only) in favour of Globacom Limited, Warri Branch, for the purchase of Globacom recharge cards.
Collins Avoaja who was the Marketing Manager of Globacom Limited at the time he committed the crime, also doubled as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of CeeCee Concept Multiple Nigeria Limited, a fact that Globacom Limited claimed it knew nothing about until the crime was discovered.
Investigations also revealed that Ikechukwu Ovoaja was a co-director of CeeCee Concept Nigeria Limited and conspired with his brother, Collins Avoaja to commit the crime.
According to the petitioner, Collins Avoaja used his position as the Marketing Manager of Globacom Limited to order stock to his company, CeeCee Concept Nigeria Limited, without complying with the terms and conditions spelt out by Fidelity Bank Plc in the Bank guarantee.
CeeCee Concept Nigeria Limited issued several post-dated cheques to Globacom Limited, but all turned out to be dud chegues as CeeCee Concept Limited account was not funded.
However, the timely intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN in January 2010 caused Fidelity Bank Plc to pay Globacom Limited, the cash equivalent of the total amount of stock released to CeeCee Concept Nigeria Limited after Globacom called in the Bank guarantee. This prompted Fidelity Bank Plc to petition EFCC on the activities of CeeCee Concept Nigeria Limited as well as the two convicts, Collins and Ikechukwu.
In a related development, Justice Buba also convicted Gbadagesin Yinusi and sentenced him to two years imprisonment without an option of fine for illegal oil bunkering and dealing in petroleum products.
Yinusi’s sentence, according to the judge should run from July 27, 2010, when he was first remanded in prison custody. The Judge also ordered that the Mercedes Benz Tanker that the accused person was arrested with, be forfeited to the Federal Government along with its content, 40,000 litres of automotive gas oil, AGO.
Yinusi and Femi, now at large, were arrested on July 27, 2010, at Aladja, near Warri, Delta State, in a Mercedes Benz Truck with registration number Lagos XL 203 JJJ for illegally dealing in Petroleum Products, an offence contrary to Section 3(6) and punishable under section 1(17) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 of the revised edition Law of the Federation 2007.