A first prosecution witness, Chibueze Chukwuma, who is a Team Lead with the Regulatory Enquiries Unit, of Access Bank, has narrated to Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court in Ikeja how a couple, Ruth Idowu and Oriyomi Idowu, allegedly defrauded Creditpro Business Support Services Limited to the tune of N2.7bn fraud.
While being led in evidence at the commencement of trial by prosecution counsel, A.O. Muhammed, the bank’s staff informed the court that its unit was in charge of dealing with requests from law enforcement agencies and subsequently responded that the defendants were signatories to accounts, where money was transferred to Food Commodity Processing Enterprise at various times.
Couple on trial for alleged N2.7bn
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, dragged the embattled couple to court over a 20-count charges bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, money laundering, stealing, retention of stolen property and forgery to the tune of N2,757,188,000.00 (Two Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Seven Million, One Hundred and Eighty-eight Thousand Naira Only).
EFCC drags couple before Justice Dada
Prior to Friday’s proceedings, the duo was arraigned on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, by the Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC alongside Food Commodity Processing Enterprise, Bonway Food Processing Company Limited, Samee Idowu Company Limited and Farmex Integrated Companies Limited, which all belong to Ruth Idowu.
According to the charges against the defendants, EFCC stated that Ruth Sameeha Idowu, alias Loiry Ventures, Oriyomi Kabeer Idowu, alias Yocli Ventures, Food Commodity Processing Enterprise, Bonway Food Processing Company Limited, Samee Idowu Company Limited, Farmex Integrated Companies Limited, between 31st of March 2022 and 17th of May 2023 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves by a false pretence that you had a genuine Local Purchase Order, LPO, from various vendors and with intent to defraud, obtained from Creditpro Business Support Services Ltd the sum of N2,757,188,000.00 ((Two Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty Seven Million, One Hundred and Eighty-eight Thousand Naira Only).
It was also stated that Ruth Sameeha Idowu, alias Loiry Ventures, Oriyomi Kabeer Idowu, alias Yocli Ventures, Food Commodity Processing Enterprise, Bonway Food Processing Company Limited, Samee Idowu Company Limited, Farmex Integrated Companies Limited, sometime in 2023 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, converted the sum of N10,000,000 to purchase a GLK Benz, purchase sum derived from converting the sum of N500,000,000 belonging to Creditpro Business Support Services with the aim of disguising the illegal origin of the funds.
During proceedings, the bank’s staff explained that the EFCC had written to the bank to furnish it with some documents.
EFCC presents evidence against couple
Giving evidence, Chukwuma said, “I know Loiry Ventures, Yocli Ventures. They are our customers. We got a letter of inquiry from the EFCC, requesting their account opening packages and statements of account; and we responded accordingly”.
The official also identified the reply by the bank, which included the account opening packages and their bank account statements.
When Muhammed applied to tender the documents before the court as evidence, James Alara counsel for the first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants; and Babatunde Ogala, SAN, counsel for the second defendant did not oppose.
Chukwuma also identified the first defendant as the signatory to Food Commodity Processing Enterprise.
Explaining further, he said, “For Yocli Ventures, the signatory is Oriyomi Kabeer Idowu (second defendant); and for Loiry Ventures, he is also the sole signatory.”
He was asked questions related to the bank statements of Food Commodity Processing Enterprise and he highlighted several inflows from Creditpro Business Support Services, which were subsequently transferred to the companies where the defendants were signatories.
When the witness was cross-examined by defence counsel, the witness insisted that the defendants were signatories to the accounts, where the money was transferred to at various times.
Justice Dada adjourned for continuation of the trial till March 20, 21 and 22, 2024.