A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has remanded a Canada-based Nigerian, Joseph Ifeanyichukwu, in the custody of the Police Special Fraud Unit over alleged N360m fraud.
Justice Daniel Osiagor made the remand order after the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges of alleged conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and N360m fraud preferred against him by PSFU.
During the arraignment of the defendant on Friday in a charge marked FHC/L/484c/22, the prosecutor a Chief Superintendent of Police Emmanuel Jackson, told the court that the defendant alongside his companies, Paradox-akachi Company Ltd and Paradox Group Inc and the duo of Samuel Edu-El and Samuel Kanu, who was said to be at large, sometimes in 2016, conspired among themselves and fraudulently obtained the sum of N360m, from one Ese Avanoma of Brade Consulting Limited.
The prosecutor told the court that the defendant and others collected the money in false pretence of exchanging and selling it for the sum of $1.7m for the Naira equivalent.
He said, “After receiving the $1.7 m the defendant and others now at large, converted the money to their personal use and disappeared Into tiny air.”
According to the prosecutor the offences committed, contravened Sections 8(a) and 1(1)(a) and are 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.
Following the plea of not guilty the defendant, the prosecutor asked for a trial date, and also urged the court to remand him in the Nigerian Correctional Services custody, till the determination of the charges against him.
However, the defendant’s lawyer Bassey Akpan, while applying for his client’s bail, informed the court that bail application has been filed and same has been served on the prosecution. He urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms.
The prosecutor admitted being served with the bail application but urged the court to impose a stringent condition that will ensure the defendant’s appearance in court till the determination of the charge.
Earlier, the prosecutor informed the court that the defendant has been on the run since 2016 when he committed alleged offences.
Jackson told the court that 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.
Ruling on the submissions, of both counsel Justice Osiagor granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N50m with one surety in the like sum.
The judge also ordered that the surety must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and an owner of a developed landed property with title documents.
He further ordered that the surety must produce evidence of three years of tax payment and the defendant must deposit his travelling documents with the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar.
The judge remanded the defendant in PSFU’s custody pending when the perfection of his bail terms.
The case was adjourned till October 27, for trial.