Court remands four in prison for alleged $1 million fraud

EFCC Operatives

The Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded four persons in prison following their arraignment before the court on a nine-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of one million dollars.

The accused, Umar Bida, Truth Igogori, Ifenyinwa Nwankwesiri and Ogechukwu Obaji, were arraigned on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before the court presided over by Justice Binta Nyako.

Arraigned with them are four companies: Universal Contractors, Lambda Energy Services Limited, Double Wonder Concept Limited, and ICS Energy Services Limited.

According to the EFCC, Mr. Bida and his co-accused sometime in 2014 allegedly conspired to defraud one Donald Latella of North Park LLC of $1 million under the pretext of supplying about two million barrels of Bonny Light Crude Oil.

It said the offence contravenes Section 8 (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

One of the charges reads: “That  you, Umaru Audu Bida, Truth Igogori, Ifenyinwa Nwankwesiri, Ogechukwu Obaji, Universal Contractors, Lambda Energy Services LTD, Double Wonder Concept Limited, and ICS Energy Services Limited and others now at large, sometime in 2014, within the Judicial Division of the Federal High Court of Nigeria attempted to obtain the sum of $1,000,000.00 (One million United States Dollars) from Donald Latella of North Park LLC under the false pretence of supplying about 2 million Barrels of Bonny Light Crude Oil which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Upon their plea, counsel to the EFCC, Onjefu Obe, asked the court for a date to present his witnesses and for the accused to be remanded in prison custody pending trial.

However, Ammeh Ammeh, representing the first and fifth defendants, and R. O. Attabo, standing for the others, prayed the court through oral applications to admit the accused to bail.

Justice Nyako held that the court was a court of record and asked the defence to make their applications formal.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned to Thursday next week for hearing of the bail applications and ordered that the accused persons to be remanded in prison custody.

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