Justice M.L. Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Monday, November 30, 2020 convicted and sentenced one Udeme Ebio Ekong to prison for oil fraud.
He was prosecuted by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on amended one-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N2,395,000 (Two Million, Three Hundred and Ninety-five Thousand Naira).
The charge read: “That you Udeme Ebio Ekong on or about the 1st of March, 2016 at Port Harcourt Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N2,395,000 (Two Million Three Hundred and Ninety Five Thousand Naira) from Daniel Eromosele under the pretence that the money will be used to buy petroleum product, a pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 421 of the Criminal Code
Revised Edition (Laws of Federation of Nigeria) Act 2004 and punishable under the same Section.”
He pleaded guilty to the charge, following which prosecuting counsel, R.E. Alao tendered incriminating documents against him and prayed the court to convict and sentence him accordingly, while defence counsel, E.H. Eboh pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, stating that the convict was a first- time offender and had fully restituted the victim the sum he lost in the scam.
Justice Abubakar sentenced him to three years imprisonment with N250,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) option of fine.
Ekong’s journey to prison began when he caused the petitioner to give him the sum of N2,395,000 on the pretext that he would use the money to buy premium motor spirit (PMS) from Eleme Refinery, Port Harcourt, which both of them would share the profit from the sale and the capital returned to the petitioner afterwards.
However, the convict cornered the proceeds from the sale of the product only for himself and frustrated all efforts by the petitioner to recover his money.