The Lagos zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday secured the conviction and sentencing of one Jackson Kamalu before Justice Mojisola Dada of a Special Offences Court sitting in the Ikeja area Lagos.
The convict was first arraigned sometime in September 2020 alongside his cohorts, Joseph Adele, Richie Ojeba and John Ogo, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement.
They were accused of conniving to defraud the Managing Director of Wealth Builders Technical Services, Dr Joseph Mekiliuwa, through a phantom contract they claimed Total Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited was offering for the installation of solar panels at Egi, community in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The accused were later arraigned on 15 counts bordering on conspiracy, stealing, and obtaining by false pretence, to which they pleaded not guilty.
At the resumed sitting on Thursday, Kamalu changed his plea before the court to guilty, pursuant to a plea bargain with the prosecution which necessitated a piece of amended information to be brought before the court by the prosecution in which he was only mentioned in count 13.
His co-defendants, however, still pleaded not guilty to all the counts in the amended information.
The 13th count read, “That you Joseph Worhabiko Adele, Jackson Precious Kamalu, Richie Edward Ojeba, George Iwuagu, John Ovie Ogo, Beauty Wugate Adele (still at large) and Hajia Jemila Yunusa (still at large) between April to July 2019, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly stole the sum of N65,070,000.00 (Sixty-five Million, Seventy Thousand Naira) property of Dr. Joseph Friday Mekiliuwa, the Managing Director of Wealth Builders Technical Services Limited.”
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The offence bordered on stealing, contrary to Sections 278 and 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
In view of his guilty plea, the prosecuting counsel, S. Daji, reviewed the facts before the court and informed the court that before the conclusion of the plea bargain, the defendant had returned N1, 664,000, which was traced to him.
Daji, thereafter, tendered in evidence the convict’s statements made to the EFCC during investigation, as well as a copy of the bank draft used to refund the money.
He urged the court to convict and sentence Kamalu and with no objection from the defence, Justice Dada admitted the documents in evidence as Exhibits one-six.
The judge, thereafter, convicted him as charged and sentenced him to one year imprisonment from the day of his first arraignment.
He was, however, given an option of a fine of N500, 000 for having shown remorse while the trial of the other defendants was adjourned until April 1 and 23.
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