The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has re-arraigned one Oluremi Phillips for an alleged N57.69 million fraud before Justice I.O. Ijelu of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja.
Philips was previously standing trial before Justice S.O. Solebo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, following her arraignment on January 27, 2022.
However, the trial could not be concluded before the retirement of Justice Solebo in November 2022, a development that resulted in the re-assigning of the case file to Justice Ijelu.
Philips was re-arraigned alongside her company, Omritas Energy Limited, on a five-count charge bordering on stealing and issuance of dud cheques to the tune of N57, 690,000.
Count one reads: “Oluremi Ebun Philips and Omritas Energy Limited, sometime in 2016, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, fraudulently converted and stole the sum of N57, 690,000.00, property of AYM Shafa Limited meant for the supply of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) which you failed to supply.”
Count two reads: “Oluremi Ebun Philips and Omritas Energy Limited, on or about the 10th of April 2017 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly issued a Diamond Bank cheque of Nigeria Plc for the sum of N14, 298,075.00 payable to AYM Shafa Limited, which when presented for payment was dishonoured on the grounds that no sufficient funds were standing to the credit of the account.”
The defendant, again, pleaded “not guilty” to all the counts preferred against her.
In view of her plea, the prosecution counsel, T.J. Banjo, asked the court for a trial date and further prayed the judge to order the remand of the defendant, who also represents the second defendant, at a correctional centre, pending the trial date.
The defence counsel, Akin Olatunji, however, informed the court that his client had been granted bail on March 18, 2022 while standing trial before Justice Solebo.
“We were able, after two months that the defendant was at the correctional centre, to perfect the bail.
“We, therefore, humbly urge your lordship to allow the defendant to continue with the previous bail, as she does not constitute a flight-risk,” he said.
The prosecution counsel, however, raised objections, noting that “Your lordship now sits on the matter. The defendant has not brought any bail application before the court, and the court is a court of records.”
After listening to the arguments of both parties, and going through the records of the proceedings of the previous court, including the bail ruling of retired Justice Solebo, the trial judge granted the defendant bail.
The judge held that “I am satisfied that the conditions are adequate.
“The bail conditions are hereby adopted by this court.
“The bail conditions, having been perfected by the defendant… the first defendant shall continue to enjoy same before this court,” he said.
The case was adjourned till June 28 and 29, 2023 and July 4, 2023 for trial.