N252m Fraud: EFCC arraigns Businessman for swindling MTN
A Lagos-based businessman Dominic Essien and his company Seed Media Lmited have been arraigned before Justice O.A .Akinlade of Lagos High Court, Ikeja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on a 2-count bordering on conspiracy and obtaining under false pretences. The 37 year-old is alleged to have conspired to obtain the sum of N252million from telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.
One of the charges reads as follows: “That Dominic Essien and Seed Media Ltd sometime in June 2007, at Lagos within the Ikeja judicial division with intent to defraud conspired to obtain the sum of N252million from MTN Nigeria by falsely representing that the said sum represent the cost of the purchase and stock of loyalty incentives/gifts from TLC Marketing Worldwide International for MTN Nigeria customers which representation you knew to be false”.
When the charges were read to the accused on Monday February 21, he pleaded not guilty. His counsel, Mr. Paul Idogun pleaded with the trial Judge to remand the accused in the EFCC custody pending when the bail application would be heard, but prosecution counsel, Mr. Francis Usani objected. He urged the court to remand the accused in prison custody.
The Judge upheld the submission of Usani and ruled that the accused be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to 24 March for determination of the bail application.
In March 2010, representatives of the MTN Nigeria Communication Ltd petitioned the EFCC alleging that the accused defrauded the company to the tune of 252million. In the petition, it was alleged that the accused signed an agreement with MTN through his company Seed Media Ltd to develop and implement the MTN loyalty scheme, which was to provide loyalty incentives/ gifts to MTN subscribers that met set criteria. Between June 2007 and July 2008 MTN Nigeria paid Seed Media Ltd N252million out of the total contract sum of N300million for the project. But the accused failed to deliver. Instead, he diverted the money to personal use and refused to refund the money.