Court adjourns trial of Pilot, bizman over alleged $5m fraud

The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday, adjourned till May 31, 2023, further hearing in the trial of the duo of Victor Uadiale and Capt. Everest Nnaji over an alleged $5m fraud.

Trail judge in the matter is Justice Mojisola Dada.

The defendants are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on an amended five-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of $5 million.

Justice Dada had, on March 23, 2023, dismissed the no-case submission by the defendants as lacking merit and also ordered them to open their defence Wednesday.

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The defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges brought against them when they were first arraigned on December 14, 2018, and maintained the same plea to the amended charges.

The victim, Tawfeeq Al-Omar, a Kuwaiti national, had testified as the first prosecution witness, and narrated how he unwittingly fell into the trap of parting with his money.

At Wednesday’s hearing, the first defendant, Uadiale, who took to the dock to defend himself, denied knowing the Al-Omar, as well as Nnaji, the second defendant, with whom he is standing trial.

Led in evidence by his counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, Uadiale, who described himself as a businessman, said: “I don’t know the second defendant and I only met him at the EFCC facility.

“I don’t also know Tawfeeq Al-Omar and all the allegations are like a drama, a story from the pit of hell.

“The very first day that I was confronted with the allegations, I told the EFCC operatives that I do not know this man, and I have no idea whether he existed.

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“All the allegations during the course of this trial are fabricated lies and I re-affirm that I do not know this man.”

Earlier in the course of the proceedings, Ojo had moved an application seeking the leave of the court to appeal the ruling of the trial judge dismissing the no-case submission of his client.

Counsel for the second defendant, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN, also moved the same application on behalf of his client.

The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, raised no objection.

The applications were afterwards granted by the trial judge, who noted that, for a criminal matter, they needed not to seek the leave of the court with regard to appealing the ruling.

The case was adjourned till May 31, 2023, for continuation of trial.

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