Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today, re-arraigned an American, Marco Antonio Ramirez, before a Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, for allegedly defrauding three Nigerians of the sum of $1.229,800 million, under the pretence of securing them America’s Green Card.
The American was re-arraigned before a court presided over by Justice Mojisola Dada on an amended 12 counts charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining under false pretence.
He was arraigned in the said charges alongside his companies, USA Now LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now Capital Group.
The American and his companies were first arraigned sometimes in June 22, 2017, before Justice Josephine Oyefeso, on 16 counts charge and pleaded not guilty to the alleged crimes.
Following his not guilty plea, he was admitted to bail in the sum of $25, 000 USD.
However, midway to the defendant’s trial, his case file was transferred to Justice Dada, consequently he was re-arraigned today.
At today’s proceedings, after the defendant’s plea was taken, EFCC’s lawyer, N. S. Oweize, asked the court for a trial date.
The defendant’s lawyer, Ademola Adefolaju, while not opposing the prosecutor’s request for trial date, pleaded with the court to let his client continue with the bail terns earlier granted him by the previous judge.
When asked by the judge, if the defendant has full complied with the bail term, his lawyer, Adefolaju, confirmed to court that his client had fully complied and has been visiting EFCC’s office as directed by the Court.
Following Adefolaju’s submissions, Justice Dada held: “having not been show any breach of the bail terms granted by my brother Judge, the defendant is hereby allow to continue on the terms”.
The judge therefore adjourned till October 7, 8, 9 and 10, for the defendant’s trial.
The EFCC has alleged in a charge marked ID/2763c/2016, that the American and his companies sometimes in February 2013 and August 2013 in Lagos, defrauded three Nigerians of the said sum.
Those allegedly defrauded by the American and his companies are: Ambassador Godson Echejue, Abubakar Umar Sodiq and Olukayode Sodimu.
The offences according to the EFCC are contrary to and punishable under sections 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 14 of 2004.