A Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, presided by Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe, on Wednesday, ordered one Portia Emilia, a businesswoman, to enter her defence in an alleged N110m fraud brought against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The order was given to both Emilia and her company, Savanah Crest Investment Limited.
Both she and her company were re-arraigned on March 16, 2023 on amended five-count charges bordering on conspiracy to steal.
According to EFCC, this is contrary to Section 411 and punishable under Section 287 (5) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.
In the case of obtaining money and property by false pretences, the Commission noted that it goes contrary to Section 1(1)(2) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Fraud Offences Act 2006.
Meanwhile, pertaining to theft, EFCC noted that it is contrary to Section 280(1) (12)8(7), 285(1) and 278(1)b) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011.
However, in retaining stolen property the defendants’ actions are contrary to Section 328 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.
Emilia pleading for herself and her company had pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges and during the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, F. Ofoma called two witnesses through whom he tendered several documents.
On March 16, 2023 the prosecution closed its case and instead of opening their defence, lawyer to the defendants J.J. Amodu, filed a no-case submission, arguing that his clients had nothing to answer in spite of evidence EFCC had submitted.
Justice Abike-Fadipe while ruling on the no-case submission on Wednesday, held that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the defendants on all the counts, necessitating them to be arraigned for their own sides of the story.
“I am satisfied that the prosecution has established a prima facie case, which the defendants are called upon to answer.
“The no-case submission is hereby overruled, and the defendants are called upon to enter their defence.”
The matter was adjourned to January 18 and 25, 2024 and February 1, 2024.
Meanwhile one of the charges against Emilia reads: “Portia Anthony Emilia and Savanah Crest Investment Limited, sometime in 2018 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, stole and dishonestly converted to your own the sum of N40,000,000.00 (Forty Million Naira only).”
Another count reads: “Portia Anthony Emilia and Savanah Crest Investment Limited, sometime in 2018 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) from one Wendy Daniel.”