The trial of a lawyer, who worked in the Legal Department of the New Cross Petroleum Limited on Victoria Island, Lagos State, commenced on Monday, with a witness, Bolaji Oguntade, testifying against him before a Tinubu Magistrate’s Court.
The witness, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the oil company, told the court that recordings from a Closed-Circuit Television camera in the company revealed how the 25-year-old lawyer, Joshua Olomo, scaled a fence to gain entrance into the office of the firm’s Chief Financial Officer around 9pm on December 9, 2015.
He said the videos showed how Olomo broke a safe in the office and stole some vital documents, and an envelope, containing a sum of $40,000 (about N8m) belonging to the company.
It was learnt that the company is sister to Pan Ocean Oil Corporation, whose records are also in the custody of the CFO, Oluseyi Oladapo.
The witness told the presiding magistrate, Mrs. M.B. Folami, that Olomo initially denied entering the office, but later owned up.
He said, “The defendant is a contract staff member in the Legal Department of the New Cross Petroleum Limited. On December 11, 2015, the CFO came to my office, informing me that he had been able to track down an individual that broke into his office. He said the safe in the office was broken and that money had been stolen in his office. He presented CCTV recordings that had been documented two days earlier.
“Six recordings showed an individual, scaling the fence and coming into the office around 9pm. We were able to identify the individual in the video as Mr. Joshua Olomo. We asked him to view the recordings and identify the individual therein.
“He said I inferred that the individual in the video was him, which was not true. He later said he was doing research in the office and was trying to get access to documents for his research. We asked him about the missing money, but he said he knew nothing about it.”
Oguntade further told the court that the defendant confessed to have stolen S20,000 after he put it to him that $200,000 was missing from the office.
“He (Olomo) said he did not take anything like that ($200,000), but he saw an envelope which contained $20,000. In his own words, ‘I took it, I put it down, then I took it.’ I asked him where the money was and he said it was gone. $40,000 is missing,” he added.
The director said the case was subsequently reported to the police at the Maroko Police Division, leading to Olomo’s arrest.
He had been arraigned on five counts bordering on stealing by a police prosecutor, Inspector Philip Osijale.
The charges read in part, “That you, Joshua Olomo, between January and December 9, 2015, at Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Limited, Victoria Island, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did enter into the office of the CFO with intent to commit felony therein.
“That you, on the same date, time and place, in the aforesaid magisterial district, did steal documents and the sum of $40,000, property of Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Limited, from the CFO, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 284 and punishable under Section 285 (8) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.”
The presiding magistrate, Folami, adjourned for February 2 and 3 for continuation of the trial.