Judiciary & Court
$55,000: Lagos court discharges, acquits American bizman
An Igbosere Chief Magistrate Court in Lagos has discharged and acquitted a Nigerian America-based businessman, Dominic Frank Labiran, who was charged of obtaining by false pretence, concealing of deed and stealing of $55, 000 USD.
The court presided over by Chief Magistrate Olufolake Oshin, discharged and acquitted the businessman, after holding that the police failed in entity to proved all the allegations against the businessman beyond reasonable doubt.
The police had dragged the businessman before the court sometimes in September 2018, in a charge marked A/66c/18, on a five count-charge.
In particular, the police through its prosecutor, Inspector Jimoh Joseph had told the court that the money belongs to one Prisca Ndu.
The offences were contrary to and punishable under 314, 290 and 287 (9)(b)(c) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2005.
During the trial, the prosecution had called the said Mrs. Ndu and the Investigating Police Officer, Mr. Ijatuyi Tope, as witnesses while the businessman, Mr. Laniran, also proved his innocence on all allegations.
Delivering judgement on the allegations, Chief Magistrate Oshin held that; “the prosecution has not led any credible evidence to substantiate the fact that the sum of $225,699 was in fact transferred to defendant making it somewhat capable of being stolen.
“CW1, Mrs. Ndu, stated in evidence that her instruction to Mr Aina was that she transferred the money to the defendant’s account. She further testified that the defendant did not tell her that his account had been closed and some of the monies were reversed as a result of suspected fraudulent transactions. This fact CW1 also confirmed. In other words there is no proof, either documentarily or orally that the money in dispute was infact received by the defendant.
“It is therefore safe to say that at this juncture that CW1 (Mrs. Ndu) lost no money as the investigating police officer also admitted that he did not invite Mr. Gbayowa Aina, nor write the defendant’s bank in America to investigate or confirm the authenticity of the money sent neither did he ask for the bank statements.
“With the above lapses, can it be said that the prosecution proved the existence of something capable of being stolen or that the defendant fraudulently stole or converted the money to his use at all? I answer in the negative.
“The prosecution also failed to establish that the defendant was dishonest or had the intention to permanently deprive CW1 of her money.
“This court hereby discharges and acquits the defendant on counts 3, 4 and 5.
“From all the evidence before this Honourable Court, I find that the prosecution has failed to prove not only one but all the five counts charge against the defendant and same are hereby dismissed accordingly.
“Following the above, the defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted on all 5 counts. All exhibits are to be returned within 30 days if no appeal is lodged,” the judge said.