Employee defrauds Danjuma N2b, faces criminal charge

DanjumaThe Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police on Friday charged a Special Assistant to former Defence Minister, Lt. Gen. T Y Danjuma (Rtd), Manasseh Obadiah Zorto, before a Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly defrauding his boss to the tune of about N2 billion.

The accused could however not be arraigned before Justice Okon Abang because he was said to be on the run.

SFU’s lawyer, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), told the court that the Police were having challenges bringing the accused to court.

He said the Police would apply for bench warrant at the appropriate time for the arrest of the accused, but that the court should give the police more time to arrest him.

Obla said: “My lord, we are in court today so as not to allow the matter to be unattended to. We humbly pray the court to grant us more time to bring the accused to court for arraignment.

“For now, we don’t want to apply for bench warrant but we will make more efforts to arrest the accused,” Obla said.

Justice Abang consequently fixed October 2, 2014 for arraignment.

According to the charge marked FHC/L/221C/14, the accused person (Zorto) was said to have fraudulently used his position as an employee of Tita-Kuru Petrochemicals Limited, T.Y Holdings Limited and Central Realities Limited, all companies linked to Danjuma, to steal about N2 billion from the companies.

The accused was said to have used his position as both Executive Director and Special Assistant, Finance and Investment to Chairman of the companies (Danjuma) to perpetrate the alleged fraud.

In the 19-count charge filed by the SFU, the accused was said to have defrauded the companies about N1.6 billion and $121, 468 (USD).

Some of the counts read: “That you, Manasseh Obadiah Zorto, while being employed and acting in the capacity of a servant at Tita-Kuru Petrochemicals Limited, on or about December 10, 2008, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud your employer, did make or was privy to making false entry in a book or document belonging to your employer, to wit, that the project cost for the year 2008 was $40, 869, 989.00 whereas in fact, it was $8, 594, 989.00, resulting in a fraudulent overpayment of $322, 750.00 (N43, 571, 250.00) to yourself, thereby committed an offence of fraudulent false accounting, contrary to Section 438 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 17, Laws of Lagos State, 2003.

“That you, Manasseh Obadiah Zorto, while being employed as Special Assistant, Finance and Investment to Chairman, T.Y Holdings Limited, on or about March 1, 2010, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, knowingly made a false representation of facts to Chairman, T. Y Holdings Limited, to wit, that a company known and registered as SMS Forever Limited (RC#868956) was a veritable investment with huge potentials capable of yielding up to 214 percent return on investments within a period of less than one year, and with the intent to defraud, induced T.Y Holdings Limited to deliver to SMS Forever Limited, the sum of N240 million, thereby committing the offence of obtaining property by false pretences, contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act of 2006.”