Nigeria: Ex-Air Marshal, Omenyi Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison Over N136. 3m Fraud
London, Feb. 28, 2018 (AltAfrica)-A retired Air Vice Marshal, Tony Omenyi have been found guilty of the amended three-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as he was sentenced to an accumulated 21 jail term of seven years on each of the three counts
Omenyi, who was arraigned by the EFCC on November 11, 2016 along with his company, Huzee Nigeria Limited, for abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N136,323,000 (One Hundred and Thirty Six Million Three Hundred and Twenty Three Thousand Naira) only was convicted on February 28, 2019.
He had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby setting the stage for his trial.
EFCC had closed its case on April 17,2018 after calling five prosecution witnesses and tendering over 20 document which were admitted in evidence.
Delivering judgement, the trial judge noted that the explanations given by the defence in the course of the trial were not credible enough, and that the court was satisfied that the prosecution proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt.
Justice Dimgba held that: “Having fully reflected on the above defence as well as evaluated the evidence before me, as a matter of fact, I agree with prosecution that the defence is a sham.
“What motivation does the defendant have of spending his own personal funds towards the execution of contracts awarded by the Nigerian Air Force on behalf of the contractor? When the proper thing to do is get the Nigeria Air Force to expend the funds on behalf of the contractor to ensure the project is done.
“One indisputable thing is that, by the state of law and the entire circumstances of the case, the money received by the defendant as played out in count one, two and three, by themselves raised criminal abilities against the defendants. I do not believe that the explanations given by the defence to the charges, are credible”.
The court further held that, in the final analysis the funds received by the defendants as contained in counts one to three are kickbacks in the contracts awarded by the Nigerian Airforce.
“Any way it is looked at, either as a direct bribe or kickbacks, or as a share of revenue or profits with a business partner, so long as the source of the funds is from the Nigerian Airforce and linked to the execution of contracts of Nigerian Airforce, I am of the view that the monies as contained in count one to three are rooted in corruption”, Justice Dimgba said.
The trial judge, thus found him “guilty” on the three counts, and sentenced him to seven years each in prison, to run concurrently.
Justice Dimgba, also ordered Huzee Nigeria Limited, “being a corporate entity” to forfeit the sum of N60 million in the custody of the EFCC to the Federal Government.
“I further order that the second defendant be compulsory wound up by the federal government,” the trial judge held.
Advising public officers, Justice Dimgba stressed that “any public official with any duty to do any contract awarded by a government agency with a contractor, should at all times operate at an arms length with the said contractor”.