Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A fraud suspect, Uju Peace Izuogu, currently facing trial before a Federal High court, Lagos, on alleged N162 million fraud, has told the court that she was not licensed to operate Bureau De Change (BDC).
Uju alongside one Richard Owegie and their company, Reoworld Enterprises Limited, are standing trial on charges of fraud, obtaining under false pretence and issuance of dud cheques, leveled against them by the men of the Special Fuad Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Ikoyi-Lagos.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) are contrary to and punishable under sections 8(a) and 1(3), and 1(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2014.
The two defendants had pleaded not guilty to the offences when they were first arraigned before Justice (Prof) Chuka Austin Obiozor, on September 4, 2017. And they were equally admitted to bail in various terms. But have remained in prison custody for their failure to meet the bail terms.
SFU in charge number fHC/L/295c/17, alleged that the two accused person who operate as Bureau De Change Operators, between January and May, 2016, conspired among themselves and obtained the sum of N162 million for a lawyer, Nwosu Maduabuchi, under false representation that they had US Dollars equivalent for immediate sell and transfer for the lawyer’s clients in Dubai and China, for international business transaction.
The second defendant, Richard, was also alleged to had aided the first defendant, Uju, to obtained the said N162 million from the Complainant (Barrister Nwosu), who sourced the money from his different clients, and allow his Diamond Bank account to be used to receive and retain the money, and later diverted and disbursed it to third parties on the instructions of the first accused.
Uju at the resumed hearing of charges against the defendants before Justice Ayotunde Faji, on Friday, she was not licensed to carry on the business of Bureau De Change (BDC) as at the time he carried out the transactions that led to her being charged to court.
Uju made the revelation while being cross-examined by the prosecutor, CSP Jackson.
Responding to the question asked by the prosecutor if she is a licensed BDC operator, as at the time of carrying out the business of Bureau de Change, Uju said “I don’t have a licence, but I aligned myself with Mustangs and get Commission for any business I bring to him”.
When asked if she has any document as regards the transactions, the defendant said all her documents were in Ghana and that she was not given the time and opportunity to get them.
On whether she has any document to prove her relationship with the said Mustapha, Uju said said “we had a contract, buy non of the documents are here, it was a partnership, it was like an agent thing, I get commission for businesses that I brought”.
The defendant also told the court that she earned over N3 million on the said transactions as commission and gave her father the sum of N1 million of it.
Uju also admitted given the second defendant, Richard Owegie, all the 18 accounts which the money were paid into, adding that she could not remember if she ever told second that she is a licensed BDC operator.
Further hearing of the matter has been adjourned till July 1.