Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Justice Ayotunde Faji of the Federal High Court, Lagos has fixed February 26, 2020 for the arraignment of an independent oil marketer, Chima Anyaso, who was charged before the court on alleged forgery and N2,066,400 billion fraud.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) has filed a three count-charge against Anyaso alongside his oil company, Ceecon Energy Oil and Gas Limited, before the court since January 15, 2019.
Since the charge was filed, the defendants have not appeared before the court due to several applications filed, including one challenging the competency of the charge and the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the charge.
All the applications were decided in favour of the prosecution, which paved way for the court to fixe a date for his arraignment.
The defendants’ arraignment were slated for yesterday but the prosecutor, Mr Julius Ajakaiye, a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Justice, informed the court that counsel to the defendants, Mr Goddy Uche, SAN, called him last Friday, informing him that his client would be unable to attend the court due to illness.
He further told the court that Mr Uche sent him a letter suggesting another day for the arraignment of his client.
A counsel from Mr Uche’s Chambers, EO Okeme, confirmed the prosecutor’s position and also conceded to the adjournment.
In fixing February 26, 2020, for the arraignment of the defendants, Justice Faji held: “Court was not copied with the letter for adjournment. By the agreement of the counsel, the matter is hereby adjourned till February 26, 2020, for the arraignment of the defendants.”
The AGF, in the charge marked FHC/L/332c/18, alleged that the oil marketer of 16, Babatunde Dabiri Street, Lekki Phase I, and having his company’s Cooperate office is located at third floor of Worth Plaza, of Olaza 307, Suit 301, Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, was alleged to have committed the offence on or about February 21, 2011.
The oil marketer was alleged to have forged a letter head paper of Total Nigeria Limited, captioned ‘Offer to sale dated February 21, 2011’, with reference number AAC/CSO/OPS/, which he falsely presented to Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) to obtain a credit facility in the sum of N2,066, 400,000 billion for delivery of 15 metric tonnes of Aviation Turbine kerosene (ATK).
He was also alleged to have on February 22, 2011, forged another letter head paper of Total Nigeria Limited with reference number FEB/yjo.FIN22.11, dated February 22, 2011, which he presented to GTB for the payment of N2,066,400 billion for supply of 15 metric tonnes of ATK.
The AGF also alleged that the oil marketer fraudulently obtained the said sum from GTB as credit facility.
The offences, according to the prosecutor, Mr Julius I Ajakaiye, a deputy director in the AGF’s office, are contrary to and punishable sections 2(1)(c) and section 1(1)(a) of Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences, Cap. A6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.