Posted by News Express | 7 March 2023 | 360 times
Justice Akintayo Aluko of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has issued a warrant for the arrest and extradition of three foreign nationals, Prem Garg, Devashish Garg and Marcus Wade, to enable them to stand trial in Nigeria over allegation of fraud amounting to $42,485,900.
Court documents exclusively obtained showed that the arrest warrant was issued on January 17, 2023.
The trio are accused of fraud by Ecobank Nigeria, in a petition to the Department of Public Prosecutions, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, that two companies, Agrico Agbe Limited and Wilben Trade Limited, Dubai, had requested a loan facility from them for the importation of rice in 2015.
According to the documents obtained by our correspondent, Ecobank opened letters of credit in the sum of $42,485,900 in favour of Wilben Trade Limited, Dubai for the importation of rice.
The bank alleged that the company had requested an Import Finance Facility loan for the importation of Indian parboiled rice to Nigeria which was granted by the bank.
The facility was to be repaid primarily from the proceeds of the sales realised from the imported products and other revenues realised from the business in accordance with the agreement.
In charge number FHC/L//562C/2022, dated October 7, 2022, before the Federal High Court, Lagos, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had, in consideration of a police (INTERPOL NCB) investigation report indicted Wilben Trade Limited Dubai, Marcus Wade and three others in a five counts charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence, cheating and criminal conversion.
Count one: “That you, Prem Garg, and Devashish Garg both of Indian nationality, Agrico Agbe Ltd. (a company registered in Nigeria), Wilben Trade Limited, Dubai (a company registered in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai), Marcus Wade (Chairman of Wilben Trade Ltd, Dubai) of British nationality, sometime in the month of May and September 2015 at Eco Bank Plc. Lagos within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired between yourselves to commit an offence thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 422 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“That you, Prem Garg, and Devashish Garg, both of Indian nationality, Agrico Agbe Ltd. (a company registered in Nigeria), Wilben Trade Limited, Dubai (a company registered in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai), Marcus Wade (Chairman of Wilben Trade Ltd, Dubai) of British nationality, sometime in the month of May and September 2015 at Eco Bank Plc.
Lagos within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired between yourselves to commit an offence to wit: Cheating in that you caused Eco Bank Plc to deliver monies to the tune of $42,485,900m which was intended by contract for the purchase and import into Nigeria India parboiled rice but never utilised the sum of money for the contract and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 421 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap, C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
It was gathered that having heard a motion for the issuance of a warrant of arrest in the first instance moved by the prosecuting counsel, an Assistant Director in the office of the AGF and Minister of Justice, Pius Akutah with A.S. Bello; the Presiding Judge, Justice Akintayo Aluko considered it deserving and granted the warrants for the arrest of Marcus Wade, Prem Garg and Devashish Garg with the view to, and for the purpose of their extradition to enable them to stand trial in Nigeria.
Available documents further showed that Wilben Trade Limited Dubai and its founder allegedly conspired, aided and abetted the alleged fraud against Ecobank Nigeria when it willfully and deliberately communicated to the bank that the commodities (Indian parboiled rice) for which the letter of credit was established had been supplied and shipped to Nigeria while knowing or having reason to know that no such commodity was shipped to Nigeria.
Sources at the office of the AGF also revealed that Malami was fully prepared to ensure that the perpetrators of the fraudulent activities were brought to book in Nigeria.
“The office of the AGF is working with relevant local and International law enforcement agencies and partners to ensure that they are repatriated to Nigeria to face their trial,” a source noted.
Investigation revealed that Marcus Wade caused a mail to be forwarded to Ecobank Nigeria to honour its credit to the tune of $20m on a Standby Letter of credit knowing full well that no commodity was in transit to Nigeria to the benefit of Ecobank Nigeria from Prem Garg and the trio.
Impeccable sources informed our correspondent that the investigation was extended to the Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc, Nigerian Shippers Council and Nigerian Port Authority to verify the purported shipping documents forwarded by Wilben Trade Limited, Dubai and Marcus Wade to perpetrate the fraudulent scheme against Ecobank Nigeria Plc.
It was, however, confirmed that the listed vessels did not berth in any Nigerian Port within the period in view, and all the documents were unverified as genuine for rice importation into Nigeria. (THISDAY)
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