Upwardly mobile boss of Lagos Luxury Boat Cruise, Chief Tony Prest is battling to save his business, Crest Marine Services Ltd. And to achieve this, the man has petitioned the men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over alleged fraud by two of his partners; Dr. Mbamali Obi and Dr. Chuma Igbokwe.
According to available documents, Chief Tony Prest set up Crest Marine Services and invited Admiral Jubril Ayinla, Dr. Obi and Igbokwe as shareholders and partners of the company.
While Chief Prest owns 49 percent of the company, Admiral Ayinla has 26 percent while the duo of Dr. Igbokwe and Dr. Obi controls 12.5 percent each.
Trouble however started when the Managing Director of the company, Chief Tony Prest began to discover some underground deals that have led to serious financial dilemma within the board.
The invitation of the EFCC according to Chief Prest has led to the threat of his person. He alleged that Dr. Chuma Igbokwe via a phone call threatened to hire thugs known as ‘Bakassi Boys’ to cause him physical harm.
It would be recalled that before now, Chief Prest had petitioned the EFCC in a joint document signed by himself and Chairman of the company, Admiral Jubril Ayinla.
In the petition, Chief Tony Prest states:
“In perpetrating the various acts of fraud, Messers Chuma Igbokwe and Mbamali Obi collided with one Bjorn Lindholm who was the General Manager of Crest Marine Services Limited as well as the Managing Director of Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited, one John Munson who knowingly conspired with Messers Chuma Igbokwe, Mbamali Obi and Bjorn Lindholm to defraud Crest Marine Services Limited of over USD 7,000,000.00 (seven million US Dollars).
In one of its operations within the maritime industry, Crest Marine Services Limited ordered for and paid for ten (10) number Armacraft Croq Vessels from Armacraft Co. Limited in Hong Kong, China. This was before Messers Chuma Igbokwe and Mbamali Obi joined the company. Annexure I and II are the contract for the manufacture of the vessels and the form M with which payment was made by Crest Marine Services Limited for these vessels one of which Messers Chuma Igbokwe, Mbamali Obi and Bjorn Lindholm would connive to fraudulently sell off.
The company also entered into several contracts with several maritime related organizations including NIMASA and as at February 2011, was negotiating a contract for supply of security/maritime services to Axxis Petrolconsultants Limited vide their letter of intent dated the 21st February, 2011, attached as annexure III. The said letter of intent was in response to our company`s proposal to Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited dated 29th October, 2010 annexure IV hereto.
The said Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited acting through the said John Munson also expressed their intent in buying one of the company`s fast Ballistic patrol craft CMSL 5 for the sum of US$ 1,250,000.00 (one million, two hundred and fifty thousand US Dollars) and indeed opened negotiations with our General Manager aforesaid, Bjorn Lindholm further to which a purchase and sale agreement Annexure V was drawn up. John Munson was aware that CMSL 5 was owned by CMSL and that it was the bonafide property of the company. All negotiations for the sale of the said CMSL 5 was with CMSL who was represented by Messers Chuma Igbokwe, Mbamali Obi and Bjorn Lindholm.
That about this time, both Messers Chuma Igbokwe and Mbamali Obi were those responsible for the day to day running of the company along with Bjorn Lindholm who however kept giving us updates on the progress being made with the sale of the CMSL 5 as well as the contract with Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited.
That shortly after, Messers Chuma Igbokwe, Mbamali Obi deliberately misinformed us that the transaction with Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited had collapsed as Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited were no longer interested and further to which the said Messers Chuma Igbokwe and Mbamali Obi purported to wind down the activities of Crest Marine Services Limited on the grounds amongst others that Admiral Ayinla had consented to the assets of the company being shared, when infact Admiral Ayinla never made such declaration.
The truth however is that Messers Chuma Igbokwe and Mbamali Obi had already gone ahead to illegally and fraudulently sell the company’s CMSL for USD 1,250,000.00 (one million, two hundred and fifty thousand US dollars) as agreed between Crest Marine Services Limited and Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited but fraudulently kept the proceeds of same to themselves along with Bjorn Lindholm.
The particulars of the fraudulent sale were known to John Munson without whom it could not have succeeded. John Munson knew that Messers Chuma Igbokwe, Mbamali Obi and Bjorn Lindholm had connived to sell off the vessel belonging to Crest Marine Services Limited account with the active connivance of John Munson thereby aiding in the conspiracy to defraud Crest Marine Services Limited of the proceeds from the sales of the vessel (USD 1,250,000.00).
Messers Chuma Igbokwe and Mbamali Obi also fraudulently misrepresented to Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited that we had set up a new company for the contract Axxis Petrol consultant Limited had negotiated with CMSL and accordingly supplanted a new company called Marene Global Services Limited with which the contract with Axxis Petrolconsultant Limited worth over USD 18,000,000 (eighteen million US Dollars) is presently being criminally executed following the payment of over USD 6,000,000 (six million US Dollars) for the first year of the contract.
The said Marene Global Services was set up purposely for the purpose of defrauding Crest Marine Services Limited.
The conduct of Messers Chuma Igbokwe and Mbamali Obi as stated above constitute grave and grievous financial crimes. They had no mandate to sell off the company’s assets, particularly CMSL 5 for the sum of USD 1,250,000 (One million, two hundred and fifty thousand US Dollars) and keep the proceeds to themselves as owners of just 25% of the company; as well as the criminal conversion of the company’s projects worth over USD 18,000,000 (eighteen million US Dollars) for which they surreptitiously set up another company in order to criminally deprive the company of its legitimate transactions and business.
In the circumstances, we seek your immediate intervention to investigate this matter particularly with regards to Messers Chuma Igbokwe, Mbamali Obi and Bjorn Lindholm”.
With this petition, Chief Tony Prest said he has become a target as he has been inundated with several threat calls.
Effort to reach the other parties is still on but as at press time, the only available line to one of the parties failed to connect but was switched off.