A retired Navy Captain, Jerry Ogbonna has been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for stealing and obtaining N45 million by false pretence.
The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), on Wednesday, secured his conviction, before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
A statement by the spokesman of the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwujaren explained that Mr Ogbonna, alongside his company, Obyke System Consult Limited, obtained the sum of N45 million from a bank 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.
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.
However, the matter was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Dada.
He was arraigned on April 19, 2018, on a five-count charge, to which he pleaded not guilty.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna (retd.) and Obyke System Consult Ltd, on or about the 5th day of July 2012 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, conspired among yourselves to wit; stealing of forty-five Million Naira, properties of Diamond Bank Plc and committed an offence contrary to section 409 and 5(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11 of 2011.”
Another count reads: “ That you, Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna (retired) 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 the sum of (N45,000,000.00) forty-five million Naira, properties of Diamond Bank Pic, which was erroneously paid to you by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and was later reversed into your Fidelity Bank account on the 5th day of July 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 Anslem Ozioko, commenced trial on January 14, 2019. During the course of the trial, the prosecution 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 respectively.
Justice Dada also ordered that the company be wound up and pay a fine of N5 million.
The convict was also ordered to make restitution of N45 million to the bank.