A Dutch national, Peiter Borremans and his wife, Nkechi Borremans, have been remanded in custody following a ruling by a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for allegedly defrauding two firms of $330,000 (about N126 million) meant for the purchase of a marine tanker vessel.
The two defendants were on Thursday, alongside their firm, Lagon Trade Limited, arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before Justice E. A. Obile on two counts bordering on fraud and felony.
The 1st defendant, Peiter Borremans as well as the 2nd defendant, Nkechi Borremans, who is a Nigerian, during their arraignment pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against them.
The court clerk who read the charges said, “That you Peiter Borremans, Nkechi Borremans and Lagon Trade Limited on or about the 31st day of July, 2014 at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did conspire with each other to commit felony to wit, obtaining money by false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other related Offenses Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.
“That you Peiter Borremans, Nkechi Borremans and Lagon Trade Limited on or about the 31st day of July, 2014 at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of $330,000 from Jackkyson Multi Services Limited & Alot General Services Limited as advanced payment meant for the purchase of marine tanker vessel, a pretext you know to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1)(a) and (2) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”
The Borremans had on July 31, 2014, allegedly conned their victims, Jackkyson Multi Services Limited and Alot General Services Limited to part with the sum of $330,000 being an upfront payment for the purchase of a marine tanker vessel for them.
The prosecuting counsel, J. N. Dogonyaro, following the “not guilty” plea of the defendants, urged the court to remand them at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre facility, pending the hearing of the matter.
But opposing the prosecuting counsel’s prayer and citing COVID-19 pandemic concerns, counsel for the 1st, 2nd and 4th defendants, C. A. Okowanye, begged the court to remand his clients in the custody of the EFCC.
Responding to both arguments, the presiding judge, Justice Obile, ordered that the defendants be remanded at the custody of the EFCC and adjourned the matter till March 31, 2021, for trial.