Court remands Canadian returnee over alleged N360m fraud
For allegedly engaging in N360 million fraud, a Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered a Canada-based Nigerian, Joseph Ifeanyichukwu, to be remanded in the custody of Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Ikoyi, Lagos.
Justice Daniel Osiagor, ordered his remand after he pleaded not guilty to the charge of alleged conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and fraud of the N360 million, preferred against him by the men of PSFU.
Prior before his arraignment, the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), informed the court that the defendant has been on the run since 2016, when he committed the alleged offence.
Jackson told the court that the defendant, who had turned down all police invitations, was apprehended at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, by the police when he returned to the country to attend a friend’s marriage ceremony.
In a charge marked FHC/L/484c/22, the prosecutor told the court that the defendant, alongside his companies, Paradox-Akachi Company Ltd and Paradox Group Inc and the duo of Samuel Edu-El and Samuel Kanu, who were said to be at large, sometime in 2016, conspired among themselves to fraudulently obtained the sum of N360 million from one Ese Avanoma of Brade Consulting Limited.
The prosecutor told the court that the defendant and others collected the money with false pretence of exchange and sold the sum of $1.7 million for the naira equivalent.
He added that upon receiving the $1.7 million, the defendant and others, now at large, converted the said sum to their personal use and disappeared into thin air.
Their offences contravened Sections 8(a) and 1(1)(a) and punishable Under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006 and Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012.
Upon the plea of not guilty by the defendant, the prosecutor asked the court for a trial date, as he urged the court to remand him in the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) custody till the determination of the charges against him.
However, Mr. Bassey Akpan prayed the court for his client’s bail.
He told the court that the application has been filed and it has been served on the prosecution.
He urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms.
The prosecutor admitted being served with the application, and told the court that since bail is at court’s discretion, he is unopposed to it.
But he urged the court to impose terms that will ensure the defendant’s appearance in court till the determination of the charges.
However, while ruling on the counsel’s submissions, Justice Osiagor granted him bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in the like sum.
Justice Osiagor ordered that the surety must be residing within the court’s jurisdiction and must also be an owner of a developed landed property with title documents.
The judge also added that the surety must produce evidence of three years tax, and that the defendant must deposit his traveling documents with the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR).
The judge subsequently adjourned the matter to October 27 for trial and ordered that the defendant be remanded in PSFU’s custody till he perfected the bail terms.