New Telegraph

Court Dismisses N7.74bn Fraud Charge Against Bizman, 3 Others

An Abuja High Court has again dismissed the N7.74bn fraud charge brought against a Lagos businessman, Kenny Martins and three others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The fraud charge initiated against the socialite and his co-defendants in 2018 was dismissed by Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi for being frivolous and without merit.

Delivering judgment in the 3-count charge prosecuted by the Chambers of Festus Keyamo, the judge held that the prosecution failed in all ramifications to adduce cogent and verifiable evidence that the N7.74 billion was misappropriated. Among others, the court held that the EFCC failed to establish how the N774 million and another N50 million retained by the defendants as their 10 percent commission from the money generated through the Police Equipment Foundation (PEF) for Police amounted to fraud in the face of a clear Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the effect by the federal government.

The judge also held that the anti graft agency did not establish how the removal of the ten per cent commission from one of the bank accounts of the Police Equipment Foundation amounted to breach of trust when there was no specific order in the MoU on which of the accounts the commission should be deducted.

The EFCC through its counsel, John Anieto, had put Kenny Martins, Ibrahim Dumuje, Yero Gella and Nigerstalg on trial on 3-counts bordering on conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, criminal diversion of N7.74bn to personal use and forgery of documents.

The defendants however denied the offences which led to full blown trial during which EFCC called four witnesses to establish its fraud allegations and also tendered various documents as exhibits. But the defendants through their lawyers, Joel Bankole Akomolafe (SAN) and Johnny Ucheaga, narrated how they initiated Police Equipment Fund which transformed into Police Equipment Foundation and a MoU freely entered with the federal government on how to raise initial N100 billion donation to equip police for effective performance.

Akomolafe SAN on behalf of his clients also narrated how several billions of naira were raised through the efforts of the defendants and how the generated fund was used to purchase several hundreds of vehicles from Coscharis Motors based on government directives.

The senior lawyer also listed how the vehicles were distributed to Police, Nigerian Army, Civil Defence, Customs, EFCC among others at a public function in Abuja attended by the then Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and top rank Security Chiefs. He also tendered several letters of acknowledgement of the vehicles by the security agencies.

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