The police, on Wednesday, October 19, arraigned the chief executive officer (CEO) of Golden Tulip hotel, Amaechi Ndili, and his wife, Njide, over $4.7 million fraud.
The couple, alongside their firm, Lionstone Offshore Services, were arraigned before an Ikeja special offences court, Lagos state, on a three-count charge before Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe.
The police, in the charge, alleged that the defendants exploited the local content act, by denying their foreign partner, Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited, the funds due to it.
The police also claimed that Lionstone was engaged by Hercules as its local partner and to receive payments on its behalf, in respect of contracts it executed for Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited.
The prosecution counsel further alleged that the $4.7 million formed part of the payments the defendants received on behalf of Hercules, but which they failed to remit to Hercules by their agreement, but, instead, allegedly converted the money to their personal use.
They were, in count one, accused of conspiring “to commit felony to wit. stealing by conversion of the sum of $4.7 billion property of Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited, contrary to section 516 of the criminal code law, Cap C38 laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004.”
Count two reads, “The defendants were accused, in count two, of stealing “by dishonestly converting to your use the sum of $4.7 million, which you received from Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited on behalf of Hercules Offshore Nigeria Ltd, and, therefore, committed an offence contrary to section 387 and punishable under section 390 of the criminal code law, cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
The couple, in count three, was accused of dishonestly converting the $4.7 million they “received from Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Ltd on behalf of Hercules Offshore Nigeria Ltd, on account of the contract you and your company, Lionstone Offshore Limited, entered into with Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Ltd, which was executed by Hercules Offshore Nigeria Ltd, but you failed to deliver the money to Hercules, an offence contrary to section 388 and punishable under section 390 of the criminal code law, cap c38 laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Justice Abike-Fadipe granted the defendants bail after listening to arguments from the prosecutor, Simon Lough (SAN), and the defence counsel, Ebun Sofunde (SAN).
While the judge ordered the husband to continue to enjoy the terms of the bail earlier granted to him by the former trial judge, she granted the wife bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum.
Meanwhile, the judge fixed January 30, 2023, for the commencement of trial and for the hearing of an application filed by the defendants, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the charge.