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Court jails man 4 years for defrauding British Airways N35.6m

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Justice O.O.Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday, May 23, 2024, convicted and sentenced one Idris Bakare to four years imprisonmemt for defrauding British Airways the sum of N35.6million.

He was arraigned by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a four-count charge bordering on stealing to the tune of N35, 672, 845.00 (Thirty Five Million, Six Hundred and Seventy-two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty-five Naira).

The offence is contrary to Section 280(2) and punishable under section 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

One of the counts reads: “Idris Bakare Adeyemi, Dauda Adegboyega and Zuraai Gold Ventures, between 23rd October, 2019 and 31st December, 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of of this Honourable Court, dishonestly converted to your use the total sum of N35,672, 845.00 (Thirty-five Million, Six Hundred and Seventy-two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty-five Naira) belonging to British Airways.”

He pleaded “guilty” to the charges when they were read to him.

Following his guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Z. I. Atiku, called an EFCC investigative officer, Mojibola Adekanbi, for a review of the facts.

Adekunbi, in her review of facts, told the court that the Commission received a petition from British Airways on January 19, 2022 against Total Nigeria Plc and Asharam Energy.

The petitioner, Adekunbi also told the court, alleged that Total Nigeria Plc, British Airways’ engineers and Sahara Energy conspired to invoice aircraft Jet A1 fuel above what had been uploaded on to the British Airways’ aircraft to the tune of N363, 780,248.53k, and that the fraudulent practice had been going on since 2018.

According to her, investigation revealed that the convict, a former contract staff of Total Plc, was a fueller, who dispensed Jet A1 fuel via bowser vehicle with a hose to the aircraft.

Adekunbi further said: “The convict conspired with others by selling out some amounts of Jet A1 fuel meant for British Airways to one Dauda Sulaiman.

“This was confirmed by the buyer through series of transactions of money to the convict’s account.

“The convict received the total sum of N40, 676,000.00 (Fourty Million, Six Hundred and Seventy-six Thousand Naira) from the buyer, Sulaiman, being the proceeds of sales of the stolen Jet A1 fuel.”

The prosecution counsel, thereafter, sought to tender the petition received from British Airways to the EFCC, the defendant’s statement, his statement of account with Zenith Bank and N4m Access Bank Cheque restitued to the Commission during investigations as evidence in Court.

Justice Abike-Fadipe admitted them as exhibits P1, P2 and P3 respectively and convicted him as charged.

When he was given the opportunity to address the court, Bakare pleaded with the court to look upon him with mercy, promising never to engage in any fraudulent practice again.

“I apologise to British Airways; my employer, through their principal,Total Plc; Nigerians and my family.

“I am very sorry; I have learnt my lesson. British Airways, I am very sorry,” he pleaded.

Also, his lawyer, Olufemi Bisuga, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy.

The prosecution counsel prayed the court to impose the provision of Section 297 of the Administration of Criminal Justice and the Law of Lagos State as regard restitution to victims of the crime.

Consequently, Justice Abike-Fadipe sentenced him to one-year imprisonment each on counts one to four, with an option of fine of N1 million on each count.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

He was ordered to pay the balance of N36,676,000.00 over three years to commence from July, 2024.

The Judge also ordered that the sum of N4m refunded should be given back to the British Airways.

 

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