EFCC Re-arraigns Professor for  Alleged N1.47bn Fraud

Wale Igbintade

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned one Professor Uche Chigozie Edwin before the Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly defrauding Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN) of N1.4 billion.

The EFCC docked Edwin before Justice Dehinde Dipeolu alongside three of his firms, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, NEMAD Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, on an 11-count charge of conspiracy, retention and conversion of funds to the tune of N1, 473,367,046.04.

The defendant was alleged to have converted the sum, through the account of Visionary Integrated Consulting Ltd, (second defendant) which he ought to know was derived from an illegal act of stealing.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to all counts since the other defendants were not physical persons.

He was first arraigned in August 2023, before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, and had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Oweibo, was however, later transferred out of the Lagos division, and the case was consequently, transferred to the new judge, Dipeolu.

Following the defendant’s plea, defence counsel, Mr. Etudo Mefo, urged the court to allow the defendant continue on an earlier bail granted by the court on Aug. 7, 2023.

But the prosecutor, Mrs. Chineye Okezie, urged the court to only allow the defendant continue on his existing bail, if the defence counsel will undertake to ensure his attendance in court.

She explained to the court that the defendant had been absent on some occasions , which she claimed had caused some drama.

The prosecutor therefore, insisted that she will not oppose the apple for bail, if the defence counsel was prepared to sign an undertaking.

In response, defence counsel told the court that when the defendant was first granted bail, his sureties included his biological father as well as a legal practitioner.

He  told the court that he is willing to add to the number, and thus, undertook to ensure attendance of the defendant in court.

Following  agreement of parties, the court adjourned the case till March 13 for trial.

In the charge, the defendant was alleged to have conspired with the other defendants, to use the sum of N1.47 billion belonging to the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.

The anti-graft agency said that they ought to know that the money formed part of the proceeds of their unlawful activity of fraud.

The defendant was also alleged to have retained the sum of N197million in his UBA account, which sum forms part of proceeds of illegal act of gratification.

He was alleged to have used the sum of N120 million to acquire a property in his name, at the Gwarimpa area of Abuja and another N200 million to acquire two properties in Owerri, Imo State.

Again, the defendant was alleged to have used the aggregate sum of N90 million to acquire several plots of lands in parts of Owerri.

Besides, he was alleged to have used the sum of N34 million to acquire three Toyota Hilux vehicles in his name.

He was also said to have received a dollar cash payment equivalent to N87 million from one Muwawiyya Haruna, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law.

The Offences contravenes the provisions of sections 1(a), 15(1), 15(2), 15(3), 16, and 18(a) of the Money Laundering Act, 2012.

Related Articles