Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, convicted and sentenced one Osho Aluko-Kola, who was prosecuted on a nine-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing to the tune of N206,502,490.02, to nine years imprisonment.
Aluko-Kola was arraigned by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on July 4, 2020, alongside six companies: Centurion Registrars Limited; United Securities Limited; Evolution Construction Engineering Design Limited; Cities & Towers Logistics Limited, Continental Exim Nigeria Limited and Diffusion Impex Limited.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Osho Aluko-Kola, Alake Olatokunbo (now at large), Centurion Registrars Limited, United Securities Limited, Evolution Construction & Engineering Design Limited, Cities & Towers Logistics Limited, Continental Exim Nigeria Limited and Diffusion Impex Limited, between 2015 and 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired to commit felony, to wit: stealing the sum of N206,502,490.02 (Two Hundred and Six Million, Five Hundred and Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Naira, Two Kobo), property of Chief Chukwudozie Nwanneka Daniel, and committed an offence contrary to Section 411 and punishable under Section 287 (5) & (9) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
In the course of the trial, the prosecuting counsel, Franklin Ofoma, called four witnesses, including Daniel Chukwudozie 65, the victim of the fraud whose dividend warrant of 80 million shares of the defunct Diamond Bank obtained in 2006 and which was in the custody of Centurion Registrars Limited were diverted through an impostor.
A Deputy Director and Head, Enforcement Department of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, testified as the fourth prosecution witness and narrated the outcome of the SEC’s investigation, which indicted the Registrars involved in the alleged fraud.
The prosecution also tendered several documents to prove the case against the defendants.
After the prosecution closed its case on June 23, 2021, the defendants chose to file a no-case case submission, which was dismissed by the court on January 28, 2022, and the defence was ordered to open its case.
The defendant took to the stand to defend himself.
Delivering judgement, Justice Dada held that the prosecution successfully proved the charges against the defendants and held that: “All the defendants are guilty as charged on count one”.
On counts two to five, bordering on stealing an aggregate sum of N38,067,336.68, the trial judge declared the first, second and fifth defendants guilty as charged.
They were ordered to restitute the said sum to the victim.
While count nine was struck out as being a duplicate of count eight, the trial judge held the second defendant accountable for counts six to eight involving the sum of N168,235,152.34.
The Judge sentenced the defendant to seven years in prison for the offence of stealing and two years for conspiracy to run concurrently.
Justice Dada ordered the companies to restitute the sums involved in the fraud to the victim.
The sum of N33 Million balance in the bank account of the first defendant was ordered forfeited to the victim of the fraud.
Following a passionate plea by the defence for mercy for the 65-year-old Aluko, the court gave him a fine of N10 million in lieu of serving the jail-term.
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