Bright was charged for obtaining money under false pretence.
An Ikeja High Court on Thursday began substantive hearing of the trial of a fund manager, Segun Bright, charged with N390 million fraud.
Mr. Bright, who is the Managing Director of Wexford Global Resources Ltd., is standing trial before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye.
The 37-year-old man, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, faces a 21-count charge of obtaining money under false pretences.
Mr. Bright pleaded not guilty on arraignment, and was granted bail in the sum of N3 million with two sureties in like sum.
On Thursday, the EFCC Counsel, Emmanuel Jackson, called the first prosecution witness, Patrick Akwalanu, to testify against the accused.
Mr. Akwalanu said that he met Mr. Bright in May 2010 during a seminar organised by Wexford Global Resources Ltd. at the company’s premises at Abule Egba, Lagos. He said Mr. Bright introduced various investment schemes to participants, and that this attracted his attention.
“The first scheme was the Cash Stream Concept which requires an investor to register with N15,000. Under this scheme, if you buy products from the company worth N5,000, the accused will pay you N21,000 as interest at the end of the month,’’ the witness said.
Mr. Akwalanu said that Bright also promised to pay N3,750 as a commission to an investor who introduced any other to the company. He said that the accused assured investors that the initial N15,000 deposit would be refunded to them after two months.
According to him, the second scheme, the Wexford Cooperative Programme, lured members with over a hundred per cent return on investment.
“If you invested N300,000, after three months, you will be expecting N750,000,”the witness said.
Mr. Akwalanu told the court that he invited his family members and friends to invest on both schemes, adding that their total investment was over N20 million.
He said, “On the whole, I introduced about 2,000 persons who invested in both schemes. I invested over N300,000. My wife, son and daughter invested over N60,000 each. From my activities, the accused now appointed me as his Coordinator in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He was supposed to give me a car as the best marketer. In fact, I took photographs with the car but I did not enter inside.”
The witness said that in September 2010, the accused gave him a Skye Bank cheque for N900,000, which was rejected when presented to the bank.
Mr. Akwalanu said that, thereafter, Mr. Bright became incommunicado and did not respond to his telephone calls. He said that this caused panic among the investors. He said that the development prompted him to report the matter to the police for investigation.
“The accused was later arrested in Ilesha in Osun State. We petitioned the EFCC which eventually took over the case,” the witness said.
The case was adjourned till January 22 for cross-examination of the witness.