AN American businessman, Mr. Brandon Benson, has narrated in graphic details how a Nigerian fraudster, Engr. Taiye Ogboyomi, allegedly obtained $1million from him under false pretence.
The American who is the president of Pipeline North Energy Inc, USA was brought into the country by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to testify in a case of Advance Fee Fraud brought against the suspect before Justice G.K Olotu of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
In his testimony before the court on Tuesday, May 5 and Thursday, May 7, the American businessman said that Engr. Ogbonyomi who is the chairman of Energy Spread Network Ltd had sometime in 2006 contacted him and told him that he was a crude oil marketer with large quantity of crude oil for sale. An agreement was subsequently signed online by both parties for the sale of 1.985 million barrel of crude oil.
This made the victim to send the first installment of $229,000 and another $5,000 on November 6, 2006 into the accused company’s domiciliary account with First Inland Bank Plc. The payment was said to be for charter party agreement.
With the first breakthrough, Ogbonyomi demanded the payment of $159,000 for documentation at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. This the suspect said was to enable him obtain certificate of origin, certificate of quantity, bill of lading, cargo manifest, tanker village report and master’s receipt of documents.
When the documents were eventually sent to the American businessman, he was further convinced to wire $425,000 to the fraudster who claimed the fund was for the warranty of title. That was shortly before another $180,000 was sent to the accused to seal the deal bringing the total sum lost to the fraudulent transaction to $989,000.
Investigation by EFCC operatives has, however, shown that the entire documents sent to the victim were forged by the suspect to make the deal look genuine. The suspect was eventually arrested on November 11, 2007when the matter was reported to the EFCC and arraigned before Justice Olotu on October 23, 2008 on a 10-count charge of criminal conspiracy and obtaining under false pretence.
The suspect’s trial commenced fully on February 3, 2009 when the lead investigator, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa gave evidence which he concluded last Tuesday, May 5. Soon after Bawa stepped down from the witness box, the American businessman stepped in to give evidence which he concluded on Thursday, May 7. After the victim’s account of his ordeal in the hands of Ogbonyomi, the trial judge adjourned the case to June 3, for continuation of trial. The victim has since Friday morning, May 7, left for his base in the U.S.