Law News
$8.8bn fraud: Lawyer faults Briton’s extradition plan

Lawyer to a Briton, Mr. Deepak Khilnani, charged with $8.8m fraud before a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, Mr. Chris Okunowo, said his client had neither jumped any police administrative bail nor absconded.

Okunowo, in a statement on Monday, while emphasising that his client is a foreigner doing legitimate business in Nigeria, said the insinuation that Khilnani might be extradited to Nigeria to face trial was misconceived.

The lawyer claimed that his client had earlier been “granted a leave to enforce his right against the police in Suit No. LD/241/14 before the High Court of Lagos State and an order prohibiting the police from restricting his movement was also granted by the same court.”

He added that his client “has always been in and out of Nigeria attending to his numerous business interests. He was last in Nigeria in March 2015.”

Okunowo accused Khilnani’s Nigerian business partner, Ola Rosiji, and one Anil Ahluwaliaz, of persecuting him so as to force him to relinquish his company’s stake in Green Fuels Limited.

He said, “For the avoidance of any doubt and regardless of any charge that may have been filed against our clients, we wish to state that our clients, Deepak Khilnani and Shushil Chandra are no criminals but legitimate businessmen with substantial business interests and investments in Nigeria and which their uncompromising resolve to protect is the root of the onslaught against them.

“Deepak Khilnani does not own any shares in Green Fuels Limited but is on the board of the company as the representative of Industrial Energy Africa Limited, a company with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland which holds 75 per cent shares in Green Fuels Limited. Ola Rosiji with his partner, Anil Ahluwalia, holds the remaining 25 per cent shares of Green Fuels Limited, which shares running into about N800m were purportedly funded by Nigerian Distilleries Limited. Shushil Chandra has never been involved with Green Fuel Limited in any capacity.

“Deepak Khilnani had insisted on behalf of IEAL on a formal confirmation that NDL’s fund was to be utilised in purchasing shares for both Anil Ahluwalia and Ola Rosiji in GFL. This was the beginning of his travail as Rosiji and Ahluwalia had severally persecuted him on many fronts including using the police and courts.”

Okunowo further claimed that the charge numbered F/21/14 filed by the police against Khilnani and Chandra before the Lagos Magistrates’ Court was in flagrant disrespect of two “suits numbered FHC/IKJ/CS/269/13 and FHC/L/CS/1648/14 at the Federal High Court, Lagos bordering mainly on the subject matter of these instant criminal allegations.”

The lawyer added, “Our firm had sometime in September 2014 wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police protesting against the high-handedness of the ‘X’ Squad, Zone 2, of the Nigeria Police in respect of the investigation of the complaint of Ola Rosiji which had somehow assumed somewhat of an expropriation against our clients…”

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