A businessman, Chukwuma Osuji, has allegedly defrauded his business partner, Ahmed Aina, of the sum of N18m.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Aina, who owns a company that deals in imported wine, had in 2017 made Osuji the sole distributor of the company in the South East.
The complainant, in his statement to the police, said Osuji was faithful in the payment for goods until he became the sole distributor of the company.
He said the suspect could not produce proceeds for goods supplied to him from March to May 2017.
Aina added that Osuji also refused to return the goods.
He said, “In 2014, I started transacting business with Mr Osuji, who is based in Aba, Abia State. We used to supply goods and after sales, he paid back to the company. At the beginning of our transaction, he remitted regularly.
“As the business expanded in 2017, I invited my partners to Nigeria. We decided to have a warehouse in Aba and also made Osuji our sole distributor in the South East. We paid N400,000 for the warehouse.
“We started supplying Osuji goods from March to May 2017, because we could not convey all the goods at once. He paid N4.9m initially, but failed to pay the balance. I called him several times, but he kept coming up with excuses.
“Around October 2017, I paid Osuji a surprise visit in Aba. I told him to show me his warehouse and I discovered it was empty. He has refused to explain where the money is. If I can’t get the money, I should at least be able to retrieve my goods.
“My integrity is important to me because the company has refused to release goods to me until I pay all the outstanding debts. Osuji has promised to make life miserable and difficult for me and his action shows that he has swindled me.”
In his statement to the police, Osuji said he had not paid up his debt because the customers he distributed to had not paid for the goods.
He said, “The last supply I collected was valued at over N20m and I remitted some of the money. The balance is over N12m. However, the drinks and wines were equally supplied to my customers on credit. I collected them on credit and some of my customers have yet to pay me since 2017. I have made several efforts to collect the money from my customers, but my efforts yielded no result.”
Osuji was, however, arraigned before an Ogba Magistrates’ Court on charges of obtaining by false pretences and fraud.
The police prosecutor, Abiola Adewale, said the offences contravened sections 314 and 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.
The charges read, “That you, Chukwuma Osuji, between the month of March and May 2017, at Apapa, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did obtain 3,285 cartons of different types of wine, valued at N18,913,800 from one Ahmed Aina, Managing Director of Daraina Nigeria Ventures, under the pretext of selling and remitting the proceeds, a representation you knew to be false.
“That you, Chukwuma Osuji, on the same date, time and place, in the aforementioned magisterial district, did fraudulently convert to your own use the proceeds from 3,285 cartons of different types of wine valued at N18,913,800, property of Ahmed Aina, Managing Director of Daraina Nigeria Ventures.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The presiding magistrate, W.A. Salami, granted him bail in the sum of N3m, with two sureties each in like sum.
He said the sureties must be gainfully employed with evidence of two years’ tax payment with the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency ID card.
The case was adjourned till September 11, 2018.
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