25th March, 2021
Justice Mojisola Dada of a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has convicted one Jackson Kamalu for defrauding a businessman sixty-five million.
Kamalu who was first arraigned by the Lagos Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC was facing a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and obtaining by false pretence.
He was first arraigned sometime in September 2020 alongside his cohorts, Joseph Worhabiko Adele, Richie Edward Ojeba and John Ovie Ogo.
They were accused of conniving to defraud Dr. Joseph Mekiliuwa, Managing Director, Wealth Builders Technical Services.
The defendants were alleged to have conspired to defraud their victim through a phantom contract they claimed Total Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited was offering for the installation of Solar Panels at Egi Community in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Consequently, they were docked on a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and obtaining by false pretence, to which they pleaded “not guilty”.
At the resumed sitting today, March 25, 2021, Kamalu, changed his plea before the court to “guilty”, pursuant to a plea bargain with the prosecution, which necessitated an amended information to be brought before the Court by the prosecution in which he was only mentioned in Count 13.
His co-defendants, however, still pleaded “not guilty” to all the counts in the amended information.
The 13th count reads: “That you Joseph Worhabiko Adele, Jackson Precious Kamalu, Richie Edward Ojeba, George Iwuagu, John Ovie Ogo, Beauty Wugate Adele (still at large) and Hajia Jemila Yunusa (still at large) between April to July 2019, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly stole the sum of N65,070,000.00 (Sixty-five Million, Seventy Thousand Naira) property of Dr. Joseph Friday Mekiliuwa, the Managing Director of Wealth Builders Technical Services Limited.”
The offence borders on stealing, contrary to Sections 278 and 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
In view of his guilty plea, the prosecuting counsel, S.O. Daji, reviewing the facts before the court, informed the Court that before the conclusion of the plea bargain, the defendant had returned N1, 664,000, which was traced to him.
Daji, thereafter, tendered in evidence the convict’s statements made to the EFCC in the course of investigation as well as the copy of bank draft used to refund the money.
He urged the Court to convict and sentence him accordingly.
With no objection from the defence, Justice Dada admitted the documents in evidence as Exhibits 1-6.
Justice Dada, thereafter, convicted him as charged and sentenced him to one year imprisonment from the day of his first arraignment.
He was, however, given an option of fine of N500, 000 for having “shown remorse”.
The trial of the other defendants has been adjourned till April 1 and 23, 2021.