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Friday, 23 February 2018

Appeal Court upholds the conviction of Ojukwu Roland over $2,917,272.00 fraud

Appeal Court upholds the conviction of Ojukwu Roland over $2,917,272.00 fraud



A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has upheld the conviction and sentencing of Ojukwu Nnamdi Roland, who was charged with a $2,917,272 (Two Million, Nine Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy-two Dollars) fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
 
The appellant had been arraigned on October 22, 2015 before Justice I.N. Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos for failure to declare the sum of $2,917,272 to officers of the Nigeria Customs Service at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos on October 8, 2015.
 
The defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him, thereby setting the stage for his trial. The prosecution counsel, E.E. Iheancho, had presented three witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence during the trial.
 
However, the defendant, who was represented by Prof. Joseph N. Mbadugha, had testified on his own behalf during the trial. In his ruling, Justice Buba found the defendants guilty as charged and sentenced him to two years imprisonment.
 
The judge also ordered the defendant to forfeit the undeclared sum of $2,917,272 to the Federal Government. Consequently, counsel to the defendant approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the lower court.
 
But in a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Ogakwu Okechukwu on February 15, 2018, the appellate court held that the appeal lacked merit and also affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
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