Justice Kudirat Jose of an Ikeja High Court on Thursday sentenced a businessman, Michael Nkwocha, to five years imprisonment for defrauding his cousin, Mr Patrick Ekeh, of N9.5 million.
“The accused is hereby found guilty of the one-count charge of stealing and is sentenced to five years in prison,” Jose ruled.
The businessman was charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Dec. 13, 2013 for stealing.
Counsel to the EFCC, Mrs Anita Imo, had during the trial told the court that the accused fraudulently converted N9.5 million belonging to Ekeh, who lives in the U.S., sometime in January 2011 to personal use.
An EFCC witness, Mrs Franscica Okorafor, had testified during the trial that she was the complainant’s elder sister and that the complainant had shipped some cars from the U.S. to her to sell on his behalf.
“Due to an educational programme I was running at the time, I handed over the car business to Nwokocha, our cousin and between 2008 and 2010, my brother shipped over 28 cars to Nigeria,”Okorafor said.
She had noted while giving evidence that during an audit sometime in 2010, Nkwocha could not account for four vehicles — two Honda Accord cars, an Infinity Jeep and a Toyota Land Cruiser Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).
Another witness, ASP Sunday Afolayan, said Nwocha admitted selling the four vehicles for N9.5 million out of which he purportedly gave an unidentified person N3.5 million without the complainant’s permission.
The offence contravened Section 39 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.