By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent Lagos/
LAGOS- KEHINDE Ajani, a sales representative with Hyde Energy Limited has been sentenced to 4 years and six months imprisonment with hard labour for diverting 30,000 Liters of Automotive Gas Oil AGO valued N4, 590,000,000,00 (Four Million Five Hundred and Ninety Thousand Naira) belonging to the company.
He however, has an option of fine of N150,000 and the immediate refund of the sum N4, 100,000.00 Four million, one hundred thousand naira to his former employer or undergo the jail terms.
The convict it was gathered was employed by Hyde Energy Limited as sale representative in 2008 and was to over see about eight stations across the country adding however, that the devil overtook him in 2018 after loading the product and then diverted and sold it for personal use.
It was further learnt that when the product was not seen at the station where it was meant, Kehinde was reported to have lied to the company that he had yet to load it due to some delays on the part of tank farm adding that management of his ex-employer started smelling a rat following which a separate staff was secretly sent to confirm his claims wherein, it was discovered that he had since loaded the product, sold it and fled Port Harcourt.
This it was told, prompted the company to contact a law firm, Messrs Adeniji Kazeem & Co, who promptly petitioned the State-CID in Port Harcourt which started tracking Kehinde who was later trailed to his hideout somewhere in Ogun State, arrested and later charged to court for stealing.
His trial sources said, suffered some administrative bottleneck following the elevation of the former Magistrate presiding over the matter after which the matter was freshly brought before Chief Magistrate Victor Ugoji in September 2921. It was he who sentenced and convicted Kehinde Ajani to the said prison terms or option of fine.
Delivering his lead judgment, Chief Magistrate Victor Ugoji held that, “In considering the offence of stealing, court held that the product belonged to the complainant having paid for it. The Defendant had the sole responsibility of ensuring delivery of the product and remita payment was sent to him for such purpose. The Defendant kept deceiving the Complainant that the product was not loaded by giving several reasons which the Complainnant relied on not until when he was no longer on the employment of the Complainant before the truth became known.
Court held that a case of stealing was made against the Defendant, found him guilty and convicted of the offence of stealing accordingly. There was heavy and unchallenged evidences against the Defendant which must be relied on. The case falls squarely on betrayal of trust which the Complainant had reposed on the Defendant and he should serve as deterrent to others.
On the offence of conspiracy, the Defendant is hereby sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with hard labour with an option of fine of fifty thousand naira. On the offence of stealing, the Defendant is hereby sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labour with an option of fine if one hundred thousand naira.
The Defendant is to pay the sum of four million naira to the Complainant as compensation for his product. The Defendant is also to pay the sum of one hundred thousand naira to the Complainant as cost of litigation. The payment should be immediate.”