A British citizen named Anthony Boyson, whose alias is Armstrong Christopher, was yesterday arraigned before a Lagos State High Court in Lagos, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly defrauding Pilgrims Africa Limited of $227,035.
Charged alongside Boyson was Nwamadi Monica, also with an alias, Anozie C. Happiness, and Marisec Services Limited on a nine-count-charge of fraud, which they pleaded not guilty.
Monica and Boyson were accused of defrauding Pilgrims Africa Limited through Marisec Services Limited by falsely pretending to be the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Jacobus Marthinus Claasens.
The charge, marked No. ID/329C/2011, read in part: “Anthony Boyson, a.k.a. Armstrong Christopher, Nwamadi Monica CHA, a.k.a. Anozie C. Happiness, and Marisec Services Limited on or about February 16, 2011, in Lagos, within Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of USD98,000 from Pilgrims Africa Limited through Marisec Services Limited, Zenith Bank account Number 4071000273 by falsely pretending to be Mr. Jacobus Marthinus Claasens of Pilgrims Africa Limited, that the money represented the cost of hiring one vessel, “Lady Mary T” at USD7,000 per day from February 16, 2011 to March 1, 2011 which pretence you knew to be false.”
EFCC lawyer, Mr. ABC Ozioko, told the court he had two witnesses in court for the trial, noting that the initial information in the charge be withdrawn and pave way for the amended information.
He argued that it was right for the prosecution to amend information at any time before judgement, and urged the court to give him a week to enable him file a written submission on the motion over the seizure of the defendants’ passport and laptop.
Ozioko pointed out that items collected from the defendants by the commission were received in the course of investigation and had something to do with the amended information.
He then urged the court to take the plea of the defendants since the old information had been withdrawn.
Mr. A. Festus, Counsel to the defendants, in his objection, argued that the new information was served him yesterday morning, stressing that he had not gone through it, neither had the defendants seen it.
Festus argued that in line with the law, materials seized should be attached as exhibit, noting that there was nowhere it was written in the prosecutor’s information that passport was received.
He told the court that there was already an application before it, adding that “it will be a travesty of justice if we go into the trial without considering that application.”
After listening to the argument of both counsels, the trial judge, Justice D. O. Oluwayemi, adjourned the matter till Friday, November 2, 2012, for continuation of trial and hearing of motion.[VN]