Justice K.A.Jose of the Ikeja High Court, Lagos State, has sentenced one Sheriff Olasheni Ajaga to five years imprisonment for N29.5m fraud.
Ajaga’s ran into trouble, after he was introduced to the complainant, Jimoh Oyesiji, by one Jimoh Aremu Oderinde, the first defendant in the case.
The complainant was assured that the second defendant, Ajaga, would assist him secure the release of the 10,800 bags of rice that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seized from his warehouse.
Consequently, the convict gave a First Bank Plc account and, requested the complainant to pay the sum towards the release of his goods.
Agada, however, refused to fulfill his side of the bargain after the payment, and also failed to refund the money paid to him.
The defendants were arrested and prosecuted, following a petition dated February 9, 2015, that was received by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from the complainant.
Investigation revealed that the convict benefited N22.5 million from the fraud.
During their arraignment, the defendants pleaded not guilty, which resulted in their trial.
V.O Agboje, the prosecution counsel, called six witnesses who testified against the defendants.
The first defendant called two witnesses in his defence, while the convict testified for himself, failing to call any witness.
Also, the bail granted to him was revoked while on trial, for appearing late before the court on May 24, 2018.
Efforts to reinstate the bail were opposed by the prosecution.
The convict also changed his lega representation twice, when the case was adjourned for adoption of final addresses.
He also, in the course of proceedings, filed an application to re-open his defence, which was granted.
However, instead of re-opening his case, he opted to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution through a letter to the Commission dated February 11, 2019.
It was agreed that the convict would pay back the victim the sum of N22million, and the plea bargain was executed.
Justice Jose, while delivering her judgment, sentenced Ajaga to five years imprisonment, effective May 24, 2018, when his bail was revoked.