Police docks lawyer over alleged N12.5 million fraud

Police docks lawyer over alleged N12.5 million fraud
A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

The police in Lagos on Thursday arraigned a senior lawyer, Chief Chito Ezeani before the Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged N12.530, 000 million fraud.

Ezeani, who was docked before Justice Sule Hassan alongside his company, Amazing Grace Properties and Agency, is facing a seven count-charge of conspiracy, obtaining money under false presence and fraud.

According to the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Lagos State Police Command, the offence is contrary to and punishable under sections 8(a)(c), 1 (1)(a), and 1(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud related offences Act, 2006.

SFU in the charge marked FHC/L/163c/2018, alleged that the lawyer, one Linus Uchenna Okoro (now at large), and his company, Amazing Grace Properties and Agency, fraudulently obtained the total sum of N12.530 million from their victims, through his United Bank of Africa PLC and Access Bank PLC, with account numbers 1005144939 and 0036618578, respectively.

The police also alleged that the accused persons received the money from his victims, by false pretence that he is capable of influencing and lobbying the government of Anambra State, in securing award of contract for renovation, lease and management of a property known as Anambra House, situated at 27/27 Martins Street, Lagos Island, Lagos.

Those allegedly defrauded by the lawyer, and the money received from each of them are: Theophine Enemuo, N6.5 million, Clement Chikalu, N3.5 million; Paul Mbanisi, N2 million; and Clement Onyemalu, N530, 000.00.

The lawyer, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

After the plea was taken, the defence lawyer, Peter Irerime told the court that his client’s bail application was filed on Thursday morning but he is yet to serve a copy on the prosecution.

Irerime also told Justice Hassan that his client and the nominal complainants in the matter are exploring an out of court settlement.

He therefore urged the court to remand the defendant at the SFU’s facility, pending the hearing and determination of the bail application.

The police prosecution, Barrister Chukwu Agwu vehemently opposed the defence lawyer’s request that the accused be remanded at the SFU’s facility, saying that the facility is over stretched.

Agwu also told the judge that the prosecution is not aware of any settlement between the parties.

In a short ruling, Justice Sule Hassan, ordered that the lawyer be remanded at the SFU’S facility, pending the hearing and determination of the bail application.

This matter has been adjourned till September 26, for hearing of the accused bail application.

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