Six meat van operators, who allegedly conspired to steal N46,416,000 belonging to companies owned by their colleagues, have been arraigned brought before an Igbosere Magistrate Court in Lagos.

The first to sixth defendants are: Alhaji Abdul-Ghani Addul-Mojeed, aged 51; Alhaji Abass Akintunde, aged 66; Ojo Michael, aged 47; Alhaji Tajudeen Lawal, aged 54; Ramon Ajade Niniola, aged 63 and Adeniyi Olayiwola Musibau, aged 54.

They were arraigned by the Zone II Police Command Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos before Mr. A.O. Lambo on a two-count charge of conspiracy and stealing in a charge sheet marked S/108/2018.

Prosecuting Inspector Ingobo Emby told the court that the defendants committed the alleged offences between 2012 and 2018 at Abattoir Complex, Oko-Oba, Agege, Lagos.

The court heard that they conspired and stole “N46,416,000, property of Bobby Foods and Services Ltd represented by Nwaogwugwu Sunday Ubani, United Butchers Association represented by Umar Adam, Lagoon Butchers Association represented by Malomo Baki Yusuf and Ajumoni Royal Ventures represented by Alhaji Taofeek Olalere".

The offences, Emby said, contravened Section 287(8) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The defendants pleaded not guilty.

Hassan Fajimite for the first to fifth defendants and Mr A. Anjorin for the sixth defendant applied for the defendants’ bail on liberal terms.

Fajimite said the case was between business partners.

“A big misunderstanding led to this. I urge the court to grant them bail on liberal terms,” he said.

Responding to a question from Magistrate Lambo, one of the complainants, Nwaogwugwu Sunday Ubani alleged that the defendants embezzled the N46,416,000. He accused them of stealing the money over a period of time through several guises. According to him, the defendants perpetrated the theft in connivance with a bank. He told the court that another sum of N133,488,000 was also missing.

“I have documents,” Ubani said.

However, one of the defendants, Alhaji Abass Akintunde, denied the allegations.

In a bench ruling, Magistrate Lambo granted each defendant N500,000 bail with one surety in like sum. He said the sureties must be tax compliant, resident in the court’s jurisdiction, among other conditions.

The case continues on January 23, 2019.

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