The Lagos State High Court, Ikeja Division, convicted Mr. Augustine Ezeama and Ms. Juliet Ezeama of fraud in the amount of $120 million.
They were both being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on seven counts bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.
On Thursday, Judge OH Oshodi found them guilty of the charges brought against them by the EFCC and sentenced them accordingly.
- CIFERCOM LLC had filed suit against Mr. Ezeama and his company, Mabrubeni Nigeria Limited for defrauding $102,550 as a processing fee for a non-existent contract.
- According to the EFCC, in January 2015, Mr. Ezeama convinced CIFERCOM LLC to come to Nigeria by promising to facilitate a huge contract for them.
- Mr. Ezeama then presented a business proposal of $8,000,000 to the company. The company then paid the sum of $102,550 to Mabrubeni Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Mr. Ezeama and his wife Juliet, whom he presented as an agent of the federal government, which acted as an intermediary between them.
- In May 2015, Mr. Ezeama told the Complainant that the new President wanted the project to be extended nationwide with a new cost of $120,000,000.00 and that he had to pay an additional $650,000.00 before the June 10, 2015.
- Having received no contract after a long wait, the complainant contacted the EFCC through his lawyers to investigate the matter.
- After investigation, the couple were charged by the EFCC, but both pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
What happened in court
When the hearing resumed on Thursday, the lawyer for the second defendant urged the court to temper justice with mercy because they were first-time offenders.
He told the court that “This is a first offense for the defendants and they have realized their mistake. The second defendant, Juliette Ezeama, has been present in court since her arrest on September 8, 2016. They are parents who also have children who have need parental care.
Me A. Adepoju, the lawyer for the first defendant, tapped the court to be in condemnation of the couple.
The presiding judge revoked bail granted to the couple and ordered that they be remanded to the Ikoyi detention center. He then adjourned the case until July 7, 2022, for sentencing.
What you should know
- The couple were both arraigned on November 16, 2016, alongside their company Mabrubeni Nigeria Limited, before Judge Oshodi on seven counts bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.
- One of the accounts reads “Augustine Chidiebere Ezeama, Juliet Ezeama and Mabrubeni Nigeria Limited, on or about May 6, 2015 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honorable court with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $30,570 (thirty thousand five hundred sixty- ten US dollars) from CIFERCOM LLC under the false pretense that the money was for the registration of CIFERCOM LLC as a company in Nigeria for the award of an $8 million contract (eight million Americans) to CIFERCOM LLC by the Federal Government of Nigeria, representation which you knew to be false”.