The District Court in Atalanta, Georgia, United States yesterday failed to declare any criminal intention in the Letter of Credit Air Peace Airlines used to purchase aircraft.
The court only placed Ebony Mayfield, the person at the centre of the Letter of Credit controversy, probation and $4, 000 fine, without prison, confinement or home detention sentence.
The judgment has cleared the air on the fate of Nigerian businessman and Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema over the case.
Explaing the court’s judgment in a statement, AO Alegho and Co, counsel to Onyema, Ejiro Eghagha and Air Peace Limited, regretted the false stories about Onyema in a section of the Nigerian media.
The statement reads: “The Indictment filed against Ebony Mayfield by the United States Attorney for Northern District of Georgia was concluded at the District Court in Atlanta, Georgia today (Friday).
“Ebony Mayfield, a former staff of Springfield Aviation Company Inc. was today (Friday) given Probation and a $4000 fine in respect of the Criminal Indictment filed against her by the United States Attorney for Northern District of Georgia after an investigation spanning over three years and involving about five agencies of the US Government. Ebony was an administrative staff with limited knowledge in Letter of Credit Transactions and pleaded guilty to one count in the indictment, presumably as she realized the futility of attempting to explain several Letters of Credit utilized for purchase of Aircraft for Air Peace Limited in a Jury trial.
“Probation is the lowest possible sentence available under US Federal Law. Ebony was not given any prison sentence, confinement or home detention by the Court. This confirms the position of our clients that there was no fraudulent intent in all the Letters of Credit, there was no victim in any way, manner or form. All the funds involved were legitimate funds belonging to Our clients. There was no loss of money or any damage whatsoever to any third Party. The US Government admitted in court today that no bank suffered any financial loss in this matter.
“There have been false and unsubstantiated press stories in Nigeria, about the indictment and Ebony Mayfield. Our clients never took loans or credit from any US Bank and Ebony was never paid the sum of $20,000.00 at any time to commit any fraud, as is being peddled by a section of the Nigerian Press. Ebony, like other Springfield Aviation Company Inc. staff was only paid her bi-weekly salary and/or allowances. These stories are far from the truth and are deliberately being peddled by a section of the Nigerian Press for ulterior motives.
“Our clients maintain their innocence in the matter and state that all steps taken in respect of the Letters of Credit were taken in good faith and with legitimate funds. All the aircraft involved were brought into Nigeria and utilized in the operations of Air Peace Limited. There was no victim. There was no loss of funds to any person and there was no criminal intent whatsoever.
Our clients’ position has been reviewed by various Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria and no evidence of criminality has been established against our clients. Our clients remain resolute in the assertion of innocence.”