After three years of investigation involving about five agencies of the American government and the subsequent legal fireworks, the District Court in Atlanta, Georgia has finally exonerated the Chief Executive of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema of any business fraud.
The court, which discovered that there was no loss against any bank in the indictment suit filed by the Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, however, ordered a probation and $4000 fine against a former staff of Springfield Aviation Company Inc., Ebony Mayfield.
A statement by the law firm of Augustine Alegeh & Co., counsel to the Airline, explained that Mayfield was an administrative staff of Springfield with limited knowledge in Letter of Credit Transactions, who pleaded guilty to one count in the indictment, presumably as she realised the futility of attempting to explain several Letters of Credit utilised for purchase of aircraft for Air Peace Limited in a jury trial.
Probation, the firm explained, is the lowest possible sentence available under American Federal Law. The firm noted that there have been false and unsubstantiated press stories in Nigeria, about the indictment.
“Our clients never took loans or credit from any American Bank and Mayfield was never paid the sum of $20,000 at any time to commit any fraud, as it is being peddled by a section of the Nigerian Press.
“There was no loss of money or any damage whatsoever to any third party. The American government admitted in Court that no bank suffered any financial loss in the matter.
“Mayfield, like other Springfield Aviation Company Inc. staff was only paid her bi-weekly salary and/or allowances,” it clarified.
According to the firm, the decision confirmed the position of its clients that there was no fraudulent intent in all the Letters of Credit, because there was no victim in any way, manner or form.
All the funds involved, it explained, were legitimate funds belonging to its clients.
“Our clients maintain their innocence in the matter and state that all steps taken in respect of the Letters of Credit were taken in good faith and with legitimate funds.
“All the aircrafts involved were brought into Nigeria and utilised in the operations of Air Peace Limited. There was no victim. There was no loss of funds to any person and there was no criminal intent whatsoever.
“Our client’s position has been reviewed by various Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria and no evidence of criminality has been established against them. Our Clients remain resolute in the assertion of their innocence,” the firm declared.