Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Okon Bassey in Uyo
The Uyo Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned an alleged notorious ponzi scheme operator, Umanah E. Umanah before Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He was docked on a two-count charge, bordering on forgery, issuance of dud cheque and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N2.9 million.
One of the charges read: “That you Umanah Ekaette Umanah on or about the 31st day of July, 2017 at Uyo, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did make a forged document to wit: United Bank of Africa (UBA) cheque with cheque number: 73131308 of No Burn Global Stakeholders Multipurpose by appending your signature on the said cheque leaflet when not being a signatory to the account of No Burn Global Stakeholders Multipurpose, domiciled with UBA, knowing same to be false and with the intent that it may be acted upon as genuine and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 of the Revised Edition ( Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (2) of the same Act.” He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges upon which prosecution counsel, Adebayo Soares, asked the court for a commencement date of trial and for him to be remanded in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service, (NCS).
The judge ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of NCS, Uyo and adjourned the matter till November 9, 2020 for the hearing of the bail application.
Umanah, 62, is an alleged serial fraudster, who scammed unsuspecting members of the public by luring them to invest in his company, “No Burn Global Limited” with a bogus offer of 50 per cent return on investment in just seven days.
His arrest by the Uyo Zonal Office of the Commission on July 1, 2020, followed a petition by one of his victims who alleged that Umanah swindled him of over N2.9 million (Two million, Nine Hundred Thousand Naira) and subsequently issued him a N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) cheque, which was dishonoured by the bank because the account was not funded.
An EFCC statement said Umanah went out of the reach of his victim afterwards and avoided communication with him. Apart from running a fraudulent ponzi scheme, EFCC’s investigations reveal that the defendant runs an advance fee fraud syndicate in several states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
The Uyo Zonal Office of the EFCC has so far received over 70 petitions against him from his victims.