A former Managing Director of an aviation fueling company, Star Orient Nig. Ltd., Dare Osamo, and a lawyer, Bisola Olore, were on Wednesday arraigned in Ikeja for alleged N1.6 billion fraud.
The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) filed an 11-count fraud charge against the duo before an Ikeja high court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Osamo and Olore jointly pleaded not guilty to three counts bordering on conspiracy and obtaining under false pretences while Osamo alone plead not guilty to eight counts of obtaining under false pretences, stealing and forgery.
According to lead prosecution counsel, Mrs. Adetutu Oshinusi, a Director in the DPP, the defendants committed the offences from 2016 to 2019 alongside others at large.
She said that the defendants committed the offences while acting as officers of Star Orient Nig. Ltd.
She alleged that Osamo and Olore signed Star Orient Nig. Ltd. Board of Directors’ Resolution dated Jan.19, 2016, and presented the document to First City Monument Bank as the consensus of the directors of the company for opening of an account.
“The duo fraudulently secured a debenture in the sum of N300 million and fraudulently authorised borrowing of N100 million by Fund Quest Financial Services Ltd. against the assets of Star Orient Ltd,” she said.
Osamo is alleged to have unlawfully converted the company’s funds amounting to N1.6 billion to his own use.
He also allegedly forged the company’s resolutions to commit the offences, according to prosecution.
The prosecution alleged that he
forged the signature of one Mr. Olanrewaju Bamgbose on the company’s board of directors’ resolution dated May 2, 2018.
“That resolution authorised the removal of Adegbayemu Nike as the secretary of Star Orient Nig. Ltd. and appointed the co-defendant, Olore, as the Secretary of the company,” the counsel said.
The alleged offences violate Sections 287(8), 314(3), 365(1) and 411of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2015.
Following the arraignment, defence counsel, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), via two bail applications, asked the court to grant the defendants bail in liberal terms.
“The first defendant (Osamo) is a former MD and shareholder in Star Orient Nig. Ltd. He has been granted administrative bail by a magistrates’ court, and he did not abuse it.
“Even from his sick bed, he walked in to attend this trial. I urge your lordship to grant bail to the applicant,” he said.
Pedro urged the court to grant bail to Olore on the premise that she would be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The prosecution, however, opposed the bail applications.
“We urge the court to consider the nature of the offences and the character of the evidence before your lordship.
“They are serious offences which carry not less than seven years on each count. The defendants are likely to abscond. We urge the court to deny them bail and grant accelerated hearing,”
Justice Oyindamola Ogala, in a ruling, granted Osamo (first defendant) bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties in like sum.
The judge granted Olore (second defendant) bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum.
She said the sureties of the defendants must provide evidence of landed property ownership in Lagos as well as evidence of their financial status.
Ogala said the defendants must also handover their international passports to the court during the pendency of their trial.
She adjourned the case until Feb. 2, 2022 for trial. (NAN)