Stockbroker bags 1 year for defrauding friends of N2m shares

A middle-aged man has been sentenced to one year in jail following his guilty plea to a 20-count charge bordering on stealing.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ogunshola was sentenced following his guilty plea to a 20-count charge bordering on stealing brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Josephine Oyefeso, while sentencing Ogunshola, took note of the close relationship he shared with the complainants, Mr and Mrs Meshach and Jennifer Oikeh.

Oyefeso, who noted that the accused had showed remorse, said: “I hereby convict you Olayinka Ogunshola on each of the 20 counts brought against you.

“I have considered very carefully the allocutus (plea for mercy) of the defence counsel, the fact that he is  friend of the complainants, they are neighbours, and their children attend the same school.

“I have considered the fact that he is a married man and a father of five female children as well as the fact that he had showed remorse.

“By entering into a plea of guilty, he had saved precious judicial time.

“It is clear that the defendant is remorseful and has refunded the money; however, this court will have to send a signal that this sort of crime will not be tolerated.

“You, Olayinka Ogunshola is sentenced to one year imprisonment on each of the 20 counts which is to run concurrently.”

The EFCC had alleged that the stockbroker defrauded Oikehs of N2.1 million in shares of various organisations including Zenith Bank, Forte Oil, First Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and Oando Oil between 2006 and 2010.

Prior to his admission of guilt in court, Ogunshola had confessed to his guilt at the EFCC office and had proceeded to refund the N2.1 million to the couple as repayment for the stolen funds.

Ogunshola’s counsel, Mr Akin Duyilemi, during proceedings noted this fact.

“The total amount in shares that was allegedly stolen by the defendant is N2,076,758.21k and the amount repaid by the defendant is N2.1 million which is in excess of the amount in question,” Duyilemi said.

According to the EFCC prosecutor, Mr S.T. Ola, the complainants wrote a petition to the anti-graft agency sometime in March 2016 over the alleged fraud.

“The complainants — Mr and Mrs Meshach Oikeh —  in their petition alleged that the defendant, who they entrusted their stocks with took over same and converted the proceeds to his personal use without authority from them.

“Upon receipt of the petition, investigations commenced and letters were written to different organisations particularly Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“We received responses from those organisations, and we invited the defendant, who was confronted with the petition against him.

“He volunteered a statement under caution and confessed to the crime, promising to refund the money.

“After the charge was filed against the defendant, a bank draft from the Guaranty Trust Bank, of N2.1 million was raised and handed to the EFCC for onward transmission to the victims of the crime,” he said.

Ola presented Ogunshola’s statement, the petition of the complainants, letters written by the anti-graft agency to financial organisations, statement of CSCS staff and the statement of Mr Bolaji Onileowo as exhibits.

In his plea for mercy on behalf of Ogunshola, Duyilemi said the convict admitted guilt and had gone through the process of restitution.

“The only sin the Almighty God will find difficult to forgive a sinner is a sin that is not confessed.

“We have a defendant who fully cooperated and admitted his guilt to the EFCC, and had refunded the money in question,” he said.

Explaining the relationship between the defendant and the complainants, Duyilemi said:“The defendant was appointed broker and financial advisor to the complainants, it was an informal arrangement based on their relationship.

“They are neighbours, they built their houses at the Low Cost Housing Estate, Ikorodu, Lagos, they attend the same church and their children attend the same school.

“My Lord, the defendant served the complainants over time to the extent that he buys shares with his money which they usually refund over time.

“The defendant had crisis in his job in the aftermath of the crisis in the stock market; this is not justification for what happened, but this is what led to it.

“He is married with a wife and five female children, he has shown penitence.

“He is a first time offender, and his conduct can be compared to the robber at the right hand of Jesus Christ.

“It is on this forgoing premise that I pray that this honourable court will ask this sinner to go and sin no more.

“But if my Lord feels otherwise, I plead that his sentence shall be minimal.”

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