A Lagos businessman, Kolawole Erinle, has been convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by Justice R. A. Osodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, for $1.4m fraud.
During the prosecution’s cross-examination, Erinle admitted to being an ex-convict in the United States, and had previously served 23 months in prison.
According to a statement signed by the acting Head of Media and Publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Dele Oyewale, on Friday, Erinle and his company, Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited, were first arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court on March 11, 2022.
Despite his “not guilty” plea, the trial could not be completed before Justice Taiwo’s retirement, causing the case to be reassigned to Justice Oshodi.
On October 28, 2022, he was re-arraigned before Justice Oshodi on three counts of conspiracy, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct and obtaining money under false pretence totaling $1,410,000.
He was subsequently re-arraigned on October 28, 2022, before Justice Oshodi on three counts of charges bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, and to the tune of $1,410,000.
Erinle took the stand to defend himself after the prosecution rested its case. He refuted the prosecution’s charges while being led in evidence by his counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN.
On September 26, 2023, Justice Oshodi ruled that the defendant and his company were guilty as charged and that the prosecution had effectively proven the case against them beyond all reasonable doubt.
“I have considered the fact that notwithstanding your prison term, which you have confirmed to me as sentencing for 23 months, you have not changed. I have considered the preceding as aggravating factors. You also told me that you are sorry, but I do not believe that you are genuinely remorseful, but you have said it.”
Upon this, Justice Oshodi sentenced him to five years on count two and twelve years on count three. The sentences will run concurrently from February 10, 2023, when he was remanded by the court.