Retired naval officer jailed 13 years for N45m fraud

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The convict

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, has jailed a retired Naval Captain, Jerry Ogbonna, for stealing and obtaining N45m by false pretences.

Ogbonna, alongside his company, Obyke System Consult Limited, obtained the  N45m from Diamond Bank Plc by falsely presenting to the bank that the said money represented the mobilisation fee from the Department of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

A statement on Thursday by the spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, said the former naval officer was prosecuted by the Lagos Zonal Command of the anti-graft agency.

It said the convict had previously appeared before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos State High Court in 2016, before the case was struck out after several attempts to have him take his plea proved abortive.

The matter was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Dada, before whom he was arraigned on April 19, 2018 on five counts, to which he pleaded not guilty.

One of the counts read, “That you, Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna (retd.) and Obyke System Consult Ltd, sometime in July 2012 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, dishonestly converted to your own use N45m, properties of Diamond Bank Plc, which was erroneously paid to you by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and was later reversed into your Fidelity Bank account on July 5, 2012,  which you never did, and committed an offence contrary to Section 285(1) and 278(1)b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”

In view of his plea, the prosecution, led by A. Ozioko, commenced trial on January 14, 2019.

The prosecution was said to have called six witnesses and tendered several pieces of evidence to prove the guilt of the defendant.

“Upon conclusion of the trial, Justice Dada found the defendant guilty of the offences and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment on count one; seven years on count two and three years on count five of the charge.

“Justice Dada also ordered that the company be wound up and pay a fine of N5m. The convict was also ordered to make  restitution of N4m to Diamond Bank Plc,” the statement added.

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