Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Nigeria: Trial begins in First Nation Airlines MD’s Fraud Case

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After series of setbacks, the trial of the Managing Director of First Nation Airlines. Mr. Kayode Odukoya finally began yesterday, with the first prosecution witness, Patrick Ogu, a banker, telling the court how Odukoya misrepresented the fact that made Skye Bank now Polaris Bank released loan facilities to the defendants with forged documents.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Odukoya before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja on four counts bordering on forgery, use of false information, perjury and stealing to the tune of N1,741,994,962.04. on March 16, 2018.

The EFCC had alleged that Odukoya forged the Memorandum of Loss of Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy in respect of a property located in Lagos.

Testifying before the court yesterday, the witness, Ogu said the defendants within the period of 2007 to 2012 applied and obtained several loan facilities from Skye Bank which as at December 2016 accumulated to about N3.4 billion and$ 2.4 million.

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Ogu told the court that at the point of disbursement, Odukoya provided the bank with document he used as collateral securities with his institution.

According to the witness, Odukoya provided the bank with a document with particular reference to the property at No. 29 Oduduwa Way, G.R.A Lagos registered at Page 33 Volume 33 1011 at the Lagos State Registry, adding that upon both internal and external investigations by the bank’s solicitors, it was revealed that the said property he used for collateral had registration number with page 5 Volume 5 1011.

“My Lord, the banks internal investigation in respect of that property is Page 5 Volume 5 1011 which the first defendant at the material time had used the same property as collateral to Zenith Bank PLC,” he explained.

Ogu also told the court that his bank instructed its external solicitor to petition EFCC as regards the fraudulent act of the defendant and further wrote him referring to the converted sum which was earlier stated at about N3.4 billion and $2.4 million.

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The witness also told the court that the defendant responded claiming that the amount were not what was involved, stating that it was N1.7 billion he secured.

On why he (Ogu) made statement to EFCC naming Bellview and First Nation, the witness said, “Bellview Airline Limited was in operation and started banking with Skye Bank, PLC way back in 2006 and upon being granted and withdrawal of their licence, it ceased to operate.

“First Nation Airlines came on board with the same alter ego of the first defendant. Upon the application, My Lord, to Skye Bank, there was a Memorandum of Understanding wherein First Nation Airlines took over and assumed the indebtedness of Bellview and both have the same alter ego of the first defendant.

“The same alter ego gave his personal guarantee to all these facilities. This is the connection between them.

Ogu said the money that the defendant admitted has not been accrued to the bank.




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