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Lagos court jails man for defrauding British Airways N35.6million

A Special Offences Court has sentenced one Idris Bakare to four years imprisonment for defrauding British Airways of the sum of N35.6 million.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a statement said Bakare was charged with four counts of theft totaling N35,672,845.00, contrary to Section 280 (2) and punishable under Section 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

“Idris Bakare Adeyemi, Dauda Adegboyega and Zuraai Gold Ventures, between 23rd October 2019 and 31st December 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonestly converted to your use the total sum of N35,672,845.00 belonging to British Airways,” one of the counts reads.

Bakare, however, pleaded “guilty” to the charges when they were read to him, and the prosecution counsel, Z. I. Atiku, called an EFCC investigative officer, Mojibola Adekunbi, for a review of the facts.

Adekunbi, in her review of the facts, told the court that the EFCC received a petition from British Airways on January 19, 2022, against Total Nigeria Plc and Asharam Energy.

She also told the court that Total Nigeria Plc, British Airways’ engineers and Sahara Energy allegedly conspired to invoice aircraft Jet A1 fuel above what had been uploaded onto the British Airways aircraft to the tune of N363,780,248.53k and that the fraudulent practice had been going on since 2018.

According to Adekunbi, the investigation revealed that the convict, a former Total Plc contract employee, worked as a fueller, dispensing Jet A1 fuel via a bowser vehicle with a hose to the aircraft.

“The convict conspired with others by selling out some amounts of Jet A1 fuel meant for British Airways to one Dauda Sulaiman,” Adekunbi said

“This was confirmed by the buyer through a series of transactions of money to the convict’s account. The convict received the total sum of N40,676,000.00 from the buyer, Sulaiman, being the proceeds of sales of the stolen Jet A1 fuel.”

The prosecution counsel then sought to present the petition received from British Airways to the EFCC, the defendant’s statement, his statement of account with Zenith Bank, and the N4 million Access Bank cheque returned to the Commission during investigations as evidence in court.

Justice Abike-Fadipe, however, admitted them as exhibits P1, P2 and P3 respectively and convicted him as charged.

Bakare then begged the court to grant him mercy, promising never to engage in any fraudulent activity again.

“I apologise to British Airways; my employer, through their principal, Total Plc; Nigerians and my family. I am very sorry; I have learnt my lesson. British Airways, I am very sorry,” he pleaded.

Consequently, Justice Abike-Fadipe sentenced him to one-year imprisonment each on counts one to four, with the option of a fine of N1 million on each count.

The sentences are to run concurrently. He was also ordered to pay the balance of N36,676,000.00 over three years, to commence in July 2024.

The court also ordered that the sum of N4 million refunded should be given back to British Airways.

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