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COVERLEGALNEWS

Court Vindicates Zinox, TD Africa In N170 Million FIRS Contract Fraud

8 Igboho’s Aides Appear In Court

The Federal High Court in Abuja has vindicated Zinox Technologies Limited and TD Africa of any wrongdoing in a court case involving a N170 million Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) contract.

The Chairman, Zinox, Leo Stan Ekeh and Company Secretary, Barr. Chris Eze Ozims and employees, Shade Oyebode and Charles Adigwe were also absolved.

The court on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, discharged and acquitted the duo of Princess Kama Onyeoma and Chief Onny Igbokwe, partners to Mr. Benjamin Joseph, who were accused of fraudulently executing the N170million contract awarded to Citadel Oracle Concepts, an Ibadan-based ICT firm owned by Joseph.

In addition, the sum of N20 million was awarded as damages against the complainant, Joseph, for frivolous and malicious petitioning and prosecution.

In his ruling, the trial judge, Hon. Justice Senchi of the FCT High Court, Abuja, dismissed the case as lacking in merit, adding that the prosecution failed to establish the case of criminal conspiracy, forgery and fraudulent use of Joseph’s documents as alleged.

Further, the judge acquitted the duo of all four count charges and absolved both defendants, Kama, a long-time associate of  Joseph, and Chief Igbokwe of the criminal charges levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). 

The four count charges are forgery; false board resolution of Citadel Oracle Concept, with intent to commit fraud and commission of fraud; using the forged documents as genuine and fraudulent use as genuine of the forged board resolution.

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Joseph had petitioned the EFCC, the Police and  the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, alleging that his board resolution and other corporate documents were forged to execute the N170 million FIRS contract without his knowledge, even when he appointed Kama to execute the contract on his behalf by issuing her a duly executed Power of Attorney and other corporate documents, all presented to the FIRS.

However, Joseph had also accused top officials of TD Africa and Zinox, including its Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh, of involvement in the alleged fraud, even when Zinox or Ekeh had never met or transacted any business with Joseph.

It was gathered that after winning the contract, Joseph and his partner, Princess Kama had agreed to domicile the FIRS computer supplies transaction worth N170m with Sub-Saharan Africa’s foremost tech distribution giant, TD Africa for funding, with a promise to pay immediately they received payment from the FIRS, with additional guarantee from Kama’s uncle, Chief Igbokwe as Citadel Oracle Concepts Ltd. was not qualified to enjoy credit from TD Africa.

When the FIRS paid for the supplies, Joseph had allegedly tried to divert the fund but his partner, Kama refused and paid TD Africa the pre-agreed invoice sum of the laptops supplied on credit.

Joseph took offence and wrote petitions to blackmail the Zinox Chairman, accusing him and other top officials of TD Africa, including Ozims, Oyebode and Adigwe; as well as Access Bank of criminally conniving to execute the contract without his knowledge.

However, investigations by the EFCC and the Police had absolved the aforementioned officials of Zinox and TD Africa, with the Commission later charging the staff/representatives of Citadel Oracle Concept Limited, Kama and Igbokwe, due to their own internal issues in Charge no. CR/244/2018 before the FCT High Court.

About Author

Ife Ogunfuwa is an award-winning reporter who is versed in reporting business and economy, technology, gadgets reviews, telecoms, tax, and business policy review, among others. She loves telling stories behind the numbers. She has professional certifications in business and financial reporting. You can reach her via – [email protected]

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