A 51-year-old businessman, Frank Ezuma, was Monday, arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate’ Court for allegedly stealing N25 million belonging to Industrial Metal Processing Company Nigeria Ltd.
The defendant who was docked before Magistrate B . O. Osunsanmi, is facing a five-count charge bordering on obtaining and stealing.
The police prosecutor, Inspector Benson Emuerhi, told the court that the defendant obtained goods worth N25 million from Industrial Metal Processing Nigeria Ltd with the pretext to pay back and issued a Zenith Bank dud cheque number 36133399 for N10 million dated October 29, 2010 and when it was presented in the bank for payment, it was dishonoured due to lack of insufficient fund in the account.
Emuerhi also alleged that the defendant on October 22, 2010, Ezuma issued a dud cheque of Zenith Bank number 36133397 for N10 million in favour of Industrial Metal Processing Nigeria Ltd and it was also dishonoured in the bank when it was presented for payment.
The prosecutor further added that a dud cheque of N5 million, was also issued by the defendant on October 23,2010, with cheque number 36133398, which was also dishonoured at the bank when it was presented for payment.
According to him the offence committed is punishable under sections 312, 285, 319 (B) of the criminal law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.
When the charges preferred against him were read, the defendant who resides at 10, Taiwo Close, Alausa area of Ikeja, pleaded not guilty.
However, the defendant’s counsel, Rotimi Adejumo, told the court that it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to try the matter, stating that the matter is a contricial business between the two parties.
He said that the case is not a matter of stealing is a business transaction between the two parties and the total money in the case is N55million, adding that the defendant had paid N38million out of the N55million, he was owing remaining N17million .”I don’t know how they arrived at N25million”
“It was lack of fund in the account of the defendant that made the police to capitalise on it as stealing, it is not, it is an issue of term and condition.”
“This is not the first time they would be doing business together, but I want to make it clear that it is not an issue of stealing and this court does not have the jurisdiction of trying this matter.” He said
The prosecutor also said that he will not join issues with the defence counsel since he said that the case is not a criminal offence that is a civil offence.
Adding that he is reserving his comment for the trial since the defence counsel said is a business transaction, asking the court to grant the defendant bail, since it is a bailable offence.
After listening to both parties, Magistrate Osunsanmi, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N5milion with two sureties in like sum and adjourned to June, 10,2013, for trial.