A Chinese man, Li Min, on Wednesday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court how his life has been in shambles after his Nigerian business partner refused to pay for goods he delivered to him which amounts to over N68 million since 2013.
While giving his testimony through an interpreter, Li Min said his company, PMC, was approached by the defendant, Lawrence Maduagwu, with a proposition for business in Nigeria with the promise of availability of market and customers and an assurance of prompt payment for goods delivered.
He said, “Mr Lawrence came to our company and said he wants to do business with us, he told my company he has a market he can help us sell our goods to and that there would be no issue of non-payment.
“He gave order for Calcium Chloride and I wrote him an invoice and transported 500 metric tons of Calcium Chloride worth $179,000 to him. After they arrived at Port Harcourt seaport and after confirmation, he called and said there are more customers in demand for our goods and told me to send another one and it cost another $179,000.
“At this time, I didn’t know he was deceiving and playing me all along and he refused to pay for both goods. I called severally and appealed with him to send the payment. After several attempts, we tried looking for him in his office, after which he paid for the first shipment with a guarantee to pay for the second shipment. From 2013 to this moment, he has refused to pay for the second shipment.”
The Chinese said due to Mr Maduagwu’s ‘deceit’, his company has been in a mess and he lost his job as the managing director of the company.
He added that his family had deserted him because of their belief that he is a fraudster and that his account had been frozen due to the refusal to pay for the second shipment.
“My family, business, and health has been in dire situation ever since. I plead with this court to give me justice,” he said.
During cross-examination by the defence counsel, Chima Ogbonnaya, Li Min told the court that although he would not be able to assert if transactions between his company and Mr Maduagwu were more than two, he knew he refused to pay for the second shipment worth $179,000 which now amounts to over N68 million.
He also went further to state that prior to any claim, Mr Maduagwu never mentioned any problem with the goods to him all through the period he and his compatriot, Ohio Ilogben, who had been an earlier witness in the case visited Mr Maduagwu to demand payment.
After Li Min’s testimony, the prosecuting counsel, Samuel Daji, informed the court that prosecution would be closing its case which it opened three weeks ago.
The defence counsel then applied for a no-case submission.
Mojisola Dada, the judge, refused the defence’s no-case submission and adjourned the case till June 15.
Mr Maduagwu is charged with a two-count charge of obtaining goods by false pretence contrary to Section 1 (2)&(3) of the advance fee fraud and other fraud-related offences act no 14 of 2006 and Section 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011 respectively.