Man jailed five years for defrauding Nigerian govt of N20 million

EFCC Operatives used to illustrate the story.
EFCC Operatives used to illustrate the story.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court on Friday sentenced a clearing and forwarding agent to five years in prison for defrauding the federal government of N20 million.
Okoronkwo Ugwu, a staff of Front Park Nigeria Limited, a clearing and forwarding company, conspired with his kinsman, Prince Duru, who is still at large to carry out illegal transactions on behalf of the company with a forged letter head of the company.
On finding out that his organisation had been involved in deals not authorized by him, the owner of the company reported the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Mr. Ugwu who had pleaded guilty to the five-count charge bordering on conspiracy and forgery had been in custody since January, 2013, when the case was first heard in court.  
Fola Oluwole, counsel to the convict, said his client having pleaded guilty to all five counts had been unable to perfect his bail.
“I will pray the court to grant our client’s plea on the following grounds;
“First, the law seeks to reform and not condemn. He is remorseful and was only helping his kinsman, not knowing his kinsman had a fraudulent intention,” said Mr. Oluwole. 
“Secondly, he has served in the company for 25 years and has not been found wanting in any misgiving. Thirdly, the defendant is a responsible family man with wife and children, and since the defendant has pleaded guilty in an attempt not to waste the time of this honourable court, we pray my lord be lenient in awarding his sentence”.
In her judgment, Justice Ipaye observed that the convict’s stay in custody must have taught him valuable life lessons. 
“The defendant has been found guilty on the five count charge, and the court has listened to the passionate appeal of the counsel,” the judge said.
“I am in no doubt that his stay in custody must have taught him valuable lessons of life and I am also in no doubt that he had no intentions to fraudulently defraud the company.
“Having found you guilty of the five count charge, I hereby sentence you to five years imprisonment beginning from the date this case was first heard in court.”

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