By; AYO AKAMO, Ibadan
An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan on Thursday convicted a 32-year-old businessman, Lateef Abayomi Hussein in absentia after being found guilty in a case of fraud brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Also, the court issued a bench warrant against Lateef and reserved his sentence till when he is either arrested or he surrenders himself to the court.
Delivering his judgement, Justice Owolabi said Lateef was found guilty on the first and second count charge of stealing, contrary to Section 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; and obtaining money under false pretence, contrary to Section 1 (2) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act. He was, however, discharged on third court charge bordering on issuance of dude cheque.
According to the court, the businessman was guilty of dodging the payment for the 33,000 litres of fuel he supposedly bought from Dees Travels and Tours Limited.
EFCC in the allegation against the businessman stated that he contracted Travels and Tours Limited sometimes in November 2016 to supply him 33,000 litres of diesel valued at N6,435,000 (Six Million, Four Hundred and Thirty Five Thousand Naira Only), but that he failed when it was time for him to pay as the Diamond Bank cheque he issued was not honoured on presentation due to insufficient balance in his account.
It was stated that subsequent efforts to make him pay the money proved abortive prompting the complainant to petition the EFCC’s Ibadan zonal office
Lateef was however arraigned in court on August 28, 2017 on a three-court charge bordering on stealing, obtaining under false pretence and issuance of dude cheque.
The court granted him bail, and he was regularly attending his trial until after the matter was slated for judgement when he stopped coming to court.
His lawyer, Barrister Oluwaseun Fadele, who could not hide his disappointment on Thursday told the court that he contacted Lateef before the first and second adjournments and that he promised to attend his trial.
EFCC’s Counsel, Sanusi Galadanchi consequently prayed the court to proceed with the judgment since Lateef had decided to jump the bail granted him, and the case had been adjourned twice at his instance.
Having shifted judgement twice (March 15 and March 18, 2019) following the absence of Lateef in court, Justice Owolabi insisted on given the judgement at the Thursday’s proceedings .