By Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan
The Ibadan zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, re-arraigned one Alice Peace John, alongside her boyfriend, Fadi Alloush before Justice Bayo Taiwo of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan for fraud in the sale of charcoal.
The duo were dragged to the court on three-count charges of conspiracy, stealing and obtaining the sum of N17. 5million under false pretence.
One of the charges read, “That you Fadi Alloush and Alice Peace John between the 18th October 2019 and 23rd December 2019 at Ibadan, within Ibadan Judicial Division of this honourable court did commit an illegal act to wit: stealing of the sum of N17, 500,000, property of Coco-Dor Nigeria Limited and Houssam Nasreddine.”
The offence is contrary to Section 390 of the Criminal Code Laws, Cap 38, Laws of Oyo State.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which prosecution counsel, Dr Ben Ubi, applied for a trial date, while defence counsel, Olukunle Kamisi prayed the court to allow the bail earlier granted the defendants subsist.
But Justice Taiwo granted the defendants’ prayer.
According to the judge, “The bail shall subsist and that in the event where there is a delay on the defendants’ part, their bail will be revoked”, adjourning the matter till October 8, 2020, for trial.
It could be recalled that the defendants were initially arraigned before Justice Iyabo Yerima of the Oyo State High Court on March 17, 2020, but had to be re-arraigned on Wednesday following the reassignment of the case to Justice Taiwo.
The defendants’ journey to the dock stretched from January to December 2019, when the victim, Houssam Nasreddine transferred a total sum of N17. 5million to the account of the first defendant, John, for the purchase of charcoal from Iwere-lle, Oyo State for export, which the defendant bought and loaded in containers at the Hapag LLOYD Shipping Company, Apapa, Lagos for exportation, but rather than sell the goods in the name of the rightful owner, she allegedly connived with her boyfriend, Alloush and transferred the ownership of the goods and sold them off.
The petitioner added that all efforts he made to retrieve either the charcoal or his money were frustrated by the defendants.