Trial of Mr. Amaechi Ndili, and Mrs. Njide Chizoba Ndili, Chief Executive Officer and Vice President, Lionstone Offshore Services Limited began with an accountant, Mr. Godwin Okon testifying against them.
The first prosecution witness, Mr. Okon who is also a business analyst manager at Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited while giving evidence on Monday told Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja, that the defendants; Mr. Amaechi Ndili, Mrs. Njide Chizoba Ndili, and their companies; Lionstone Offshore Services Limited and Lionstone Company Limited entered into a contract agreement with Hercules and after the execution of the contract paid part payment of the proceeds from the contract.
The witness also narrated that the defendants had converted the money into their personal use after they stopped remitting the payment that was made to their company Lionstone.
Being led in evidence in by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Simon Lough, SAN, the witness stated that Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria had a contract with Lionstone Offshore Services Limited which was executed by Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited, based on a joint written agreement entered between Hercules and Lionstone on 14th January, 2010.
The witness in his testimony said, “Sometime in December 2009, Mr. Ameachi came to Hercules to discuss the possibility of collaboration between the two companies, can team up, and carry out some contracts in the Nigeria Oil and Gas field.
Okon also explained that the first defendant had based his reason on the expertise and experience of Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited, in the field, and by 14th January, 2010, a joint bidding agreement was entered into and some terms were spelt out.
He also said Lionstone was responsible for the submission of tenders and receiving of payments, while Hercules, was responsible to provide technical information and financial information.
Mr. Okon said,”Some of the other joint bidding agreement was the fees spelt out, Lionstone will be entitled to one time flat fee of $75,000 on the execution, then an annual amount of,$150,000, for three years.
“The duration of a fee equal to 2 per cent of the net charted higher to be received by Lionstone. The contract was entered into by Lionstone and Addax, in October 2010, but it was executed by Hercules based on an agreement.
“On the execution of the contract when there is payment, the payment will go to the Lionstone account then Lionstone on receiving such amount will remit the net amount after taking 2 per cent of the net chatter higher.
“Lionstone paid the invoices from Addax from the inception of the execution of the contract up till June 2012 to Hercules, then from July 2012 to September 2013, Lionstone did not remit any money again.
“Based on the invoices after Lionstone had failed to remit the money to Hercules, and after making calls and nothing happened, our senior management went to Addax to inquire and it was from there that we were told that Addax, had paid all the invoices to Lionstone and that they were not owing Lionstone any money,” he said.
The couple was arraigned alongside their companies in October 2022 and were re-arraigned on an amended charge and they pleaded not guilty.
The couple and their companies are standing trial for alleged stealing and conversion of the sum of $4.7m, belonging to Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited, to their use.
The couple who are the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Lionstone Offshore Services Limited are standing trial on a four-count charge.
The defendants were arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy, converting to personal use, and stealing, preferred against them by the Inspector General of Police.
They were alleged to have dishonestly converted $4,666,234.28 received from Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited on behalf of Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited.
The prosecution led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Lough SAN alleged that the defendants obtained the money for the contract that the duo and their companies, Lionstone Offshore Limited, entered into with Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited, which was executed by Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited but failed to deliver the money to Hercules.
The offences were committed at Lionstone Offshore, of A58 Road 2, Victoria Garden City Lagos, and Lionstone Offshore Services Limited at No 38/39 Bull Plaza 19, Floor Marina Lagos between July 2012 and September 2013 in Lagos.
According to the prosecutor, the offence committed is contrary to Section 516, 387 and punishable under Section 390, of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Ebun Shofunde, SAN, the Defence Counsel had represented the defendants at proceeding.
Meanwhile, further hearing of the matter has been adjourned till January 31, for the continuation of trial.