Court Convicts Aluko-Kola, Registrars for N206.5m Stocks Fraud

December 16, 2022
stockbroker Osho Aluko-Kola Centurion Registrars Limited United Securities Limited

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A man known as Mr Osho Aluko-Kola has been conceited and sentenced to nine years imprisonment by a court in Lagos for diverting shares of an investor worth N206.5 million.

At the ruling on Wednesday, Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja found the 65-year-old man guilty of conspiracy and theft.

It was gathered that on July 2020, the convict was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside six companies Centurion Registrars Limited, United Securities Limited, Evolution Construction Engineering Design Limited, Cities & Towers Logistics Limited, Continental Exim Nigeria Limited, and Diffusion Impex Limited.

The agency levelled nine charges against him in court, one of which read, “That you, Osho Aluko-Kola, Alake Olatokunbo (now at large), Centurion Registrars Limited, United Securities Limited, Evolution Construction & Engineering Design Limited, Cities & Towers Logistics Limited, Continental Exim Nigeria Limited and Diffusion Impex Limited, between 2015 and 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired to commit a felony, to wit: stealing the sum of N206,502,490.02 (Two Hundred and Six Million, Five Hundred and Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Naira, Two Kobo), property of Chief Chukwudozie Nwanneka Daniel, and committed an offence contrary to Section 411 and punishable under Section 287 (5) & (9) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”

In a statement issued on Friday by the Media and Publicity Department of the EFCC, it was stated that Mr Aluko-Kola pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

In the course of the trial, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Franklin Ofoma, called four witnesses, including the victim of the fraud, whose dividend warrant of 80 million shares of the defunct Diamond Bank obtained in 2006 and which was in the custody of Centurion Registrars Limited, were diverted through an impostor.

Also, a Deputy Director and Head of the Enforcement Department of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), testified as the fourth prosecution witness and narrated the outcome of the agency’s investigation, which indicted the registrars involved in the alleged fraud.

The prosecution also tendered several documents to prove the case against the defendants.

After the prosecution closed its case on June 23, 2021, the defendants chose to file a no-case case submission, which was dismissed by the court on January 28, 2022, and the defence was ordered to open its case. The defendant took to the stand to defend himself.

Delivering judgement, Justice Dada held that the prosecution successfully proved the charges against the defendants and held that, “All the defendants are guilty as charged on count one.”

On counts two to five, bordering on stealing an aggregate sum of N38,067,336.68, the trial judge declared the first, second and fifth defendants guilty as charged and ordered to restitute the said sum to the victim.

While count nine was struck out as being a duplicate of count eight, the trial judge held the second defendant accountable for counts six to eight involving the sum of N168,235,152.34.

The judge sentenced the defendant to seven years in prison for the offence of stealing and two years for conspiracy to run concurrently.

Justice Dada ordered the companies to restitute the sums involved in the fraud to the victim.

The sum of N33 million balance in the bank account of the first defendant was ordered forfeited to the victim of the fraud.

Following a passionate plea by the defence for mercy for the 65-year-old Aluko, the court gave him a fine of N10 million in lieu of serving the jail term.

Aduragbemi Omiyale

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

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