A Canada based Nigerian, Joseph Ifeanyinchukwu, has been remanded in the custody of the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), over alleged fraud of N360 million USD, by a Lagos Federal High Court.
Justice Daniel Osiagor, of the Federal High Court, Lagos ordered the remand of the Canadian returnee, after he pleaded not guilty to the charges of alleged conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and fraud of the N360 million, preferred against him by men of the PSFU, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Before his arraignment on Friday, the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), head of the PSFU’s Legal Department, informed the court that the defendant has been on the run since 2016, when he committed alleged crimes.
CSP Jackson informed the court the 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.
Arraigning the defendant 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 dou of Samuel Edu-El and Samuel Kanu, who were said to be at large, sometimes in 2016, conspired among themselves and 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 foreign exchange and selling of the sum of $1.7 million USD for the Naira equivalent to his victim.
Jackson added that upon receiving the $1.7 million, the defendant and others now at large, converted same to their personal use and disappeared Into thin air.
CSP Jackson informed the court that the offences committed by the defendant, 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 to the charges, the prosecutor asked the court for trial date, and also urged the court to remand him in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) till the determination of the charges against him.
However, Barrister Bassey Akpan, in applying for his client’s bail, informed the court that application for bail has been filed and same served on the prosecution. He urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms.
The prosecutor admitted been served with the application, and told the court that since bail is at the discretion of the court, he is will not oppose it. He, however, urged the court to impose terms that will ensure the defendant’s appearance in court till the determination of the charges.
Ruling on the counsels’ submissions, Justice Osiagor admitted bail to the defendant in the sum of N50 million with one surety in the like sum.
Justice Osiagor also ordered that the surety must resides within the court’s jurisdiction and must also own a developed landed property with title documents.
The trial judge further ruled that the surety must produce evidence of three years tax, why the defendant must deposit his traveling documents with the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR).
The judge while adjourning the matter till October 27, 2022 for trial, ordered that the defendant should be remanded in PSFU’s custody till the perfection of the bail terms sequel to the request of the defendant’s counsel.