COURT REMAND CHIEF ACCOUNTANT, COMPANY, FOUR OTHERS FOR ALLEGED 215M FRAUD
Justice P. I. Ajoku of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has on Wednesday 15th March 2023 remanded a former chief accountant and his company, JCJ Global Services, and four others in court for alleged 215m fraud.
The information available indicates that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Port Harcourt Zonal Command prosecuted former chief accountant, Chinedu Akandu, his company, JCJ Global Services, and four former employees of Megastar Technical and Construction Company Limited, Andrew Odibenua, Calistus Madu, Abiola Allison, and Okpeva Elija in custody over a 14-count charge bordering on conspiracy, money laundering, and obtaining by false pretense.
One of the counts reads: "That you, Chinedu Akandu, JCJ Global Services, Andrew Odibenua, Calistus Madu, Abiola Allison, Okpeva Elijah between 31st of March, 2021 and 24 June, 2022, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of Ninety Million, One Hundred and Ninety Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty-Four Naira (N90,190, 524) from Megastar Technical and Construction Company Limited through the instrumentality of Dickson Dickson Udo, aka, D. Dick Enterprises on the representation that the sum was for various stages of supply of rice and air tickets on behalf of the company, a pretence which to your knowledge was false and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act".
Another count reads: "That you, Chinedu Akandu, JCJ Global Services, Andrew Odibenua, Calistus Madu, Abiola Allison, Okpeva Elijah, between, 31s of March 2021 and 24th March 2022, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, indirectly transferred the sum of Sixty-One Million, Two Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Two Naira (N61, 281, 762) from First City Monument Bank Account No. 3055950015 in the name of D. Dickson Enterprises to Fidelity Bank Plc Account No. 6310195859 in the name of Andrew Odibenua, money which to your knowledge formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 15(1)(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded "not guilty" to all the charges preferred against them.
Given their pleas, prosecution counsel S. M. H. Ibekwute asked for a date for the commencement of trial and prayed that the defendants be remanded.
Counsels to the 1st and 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th defendants, E. C. Ozioko, N. A. Anyeuoh, Paula. O. Abudu, N. A. Ibiloye, and D. L. Davis respectively informed the court of their applications for the bail of the defendants and urged the court to grant the defendants bail to enable them to prepare for their trial.
Justice Ajoku ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of the prosecution and the matter was adjourned to April 26, 2023, for hearing of bail and June 19, 2023, for commencement of trial.
The defendants ran into trouble when the Commission received a petition against them.
The petitioner alleged that, sometime in November 2022, while reviewing the company's financial ledger to check their financial expenses, it was observed that some illegal and unapproved transactions were carried out on the company's account without any approval.
Investigation revealed that the defendants who were former employees of the company conspired amongst themselves to defraud the company and laundered the proceeds of the fraud to various accounts belonging to them for their gain.