Air Peace Boss, Allen Onyema and Air peace logo
By Our Reporter
A United States District Court has ruled that there was no financial loss suffered by any bank in a case involving the managing director of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema.
Onyema’s legal counsel, Austin Alegeh made this known in a statement he personally signed and released on Friday, October 28, 2022 on the outcome of the case which was concluded on Friday.
Onyema had been accused of engaging in money laundering and bank fraud to the tune of $15 million and $20 million respectively, in connection with an American woman, named Ebony Mayfield.
Alegeh indicated that the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, on Friday, ruled that Mayfield be placed on Probation and pay a $4,000 fine in respect of the Criminal Indictment filed against her.
The charge was filed against her by the US Attorney for Northern District of Georgia.
Mayfield is a former staff member of Springfield
Aviation Company based in Georgia, Atlanta owned by Onyema.
The Springfield Aviation Company was said to have been established to specialise in the sale of commercial aircraft and parts.
The prosecutors had alleged that Onyema had between November 2016 and October 2017, applied for export letters of credit to facilitate the transfer of funds from a Nigerian bank account for Air Peace to Springfield Aviation’s bank account in the US purportedly to fund purchase of aircraft by Air Peace.
The prosecutors also alleged that Onyema submitted false documents to enable Air Peace buy five Boeing 737 passenger planes from Springfield Aviation.
Onyema, however, maintained that all transactions done in respect of the Letters of Credit were done in good faith and funds mobilised were legitimate.
Alegeh in the statement explained that Mayfield was an administrative staff member with limited knowledge in Letter of Credit Transactions.
He said the investigation into the matter spanned three years involving about five Agencies of the US Government.
The statement added that Ebony Mayfield “was an administrative staff with limited knowledge in Letter of Credit Transactions and pleaded guilty to one count in the indictment, presumably as she realized the futility of attempting to explain several Letters of Credit utilized for purchase of Aircraft for Air Peace Limited in a Jury trial.”
The Friday ruling of the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, held that Mayfield should only be placed on probation for three years, with no detention or house arrest.
The Court ruling debunked some media publications which claimed that Mayfield would be sentenced to five-year jail term at the Friday sitting, and that Onyema was guilty of the charges.
Onyema’s lawyer also stated that Mayfield was never illegally paid the sum of $20,000 as claimed in some media publications in Nigeria.
The statement reads:
“The Indictment filed against Ebony Mayfield by the United States Attorney for Northern District of Georgia was concluded at the District Court in Atlanta, Georgia today (Friday, October 28, 2022).
“Ebony Mayfield, a former staff of Springfield Aviation Company Inc. was today given Probation and a $4,000 fine in respect of the Criminal Indictment filed against her by the United States.
“Attorney for Northern District of Georgia after an investigation spanning over three years and involving about five Agencies of the US Government. Ebony was an administrative staff with limited knowledge in Letter of Credit Transactions and pleaded guilty to one count in the indictment, presumably as she realized the futility of attempting to explain several Letters of Credit utilized for purchase of Aircraft for Air Peace Limited in a Jury trial.
“Probation is the lowest possible sentence available under US Federal Law. Ebony was not given any prison sentence, confinement or home detention by the Court. This confirms the position of our Clients that there was no fraudulent intent in all the Letters of Credit, there was no victim in any way, manner or form.
“All the funds involved were legitimate funds belonging to Our Clients. There was no loss of money or any damage whatsoever to any third Party. The US Government admitted in Court today that no Bank suffered any financial loss in this matter.
“There have been false and unsubstantiated Press stories in Nigeria, about the Indictment and Ebony Mayfield. Our Clients never took loans or credit from any US Bank and Ebony was never paid the sum of $20,000.00 at any time to commit any fraud, as is being peddled by a section of the Nigerian Press. Ebony, like other Springfield Aviation Company Inc. staff was only paid her bi-weekly salary and/or allowances.
“These stories are far from the truth and are deliberately being peddled by a section of the Nigerian Press for ulterior motives.
“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 aircraft involved were brought into Nigeria and utilized 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 clients’ position has been reviewed by various Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria and no evidence of criminality has been established against our Clients. Our Clients remain resolute in the assertion of innocence,” Alegeh concluded. (PBA)