The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on March 16, arraigned Prof. Uche Chigozie Edwin for an alleged N1.4bn fraud before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Edwin was arraigned alongside his companies, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, NEMAD Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention and conversion of funds to the tune of N1, 473,367,046.04 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy-three Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-seven Thousand, Forty-six Naira, Four Kobo).
One of the counts reads: “ That you, Professor Uche Chigozie Edwin, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, Nemad Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, sometime in 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court , conspired amongst yourselves to use the sum of N1, 473,367,046.04 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy Three Million, Three Hundred and Sixty Seven Thousand, forty six Naira, Four Kobo), property of the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: fraud; and you thereby committed an offence , contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
When the charge was read to the defendant, he pleaded “not guilty” to the 11-count charge.
In view of his plea, the prosecuting EFCC lawyer, C.C.Okezie, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed that the defendant be remanded.
But the defence lawyer, Mobolaji Akintunde, urged the court to grant bail to his client.
Akintunde prayed the court to admit his client to bail and also for his remand in the EFCC custody pending the perfection of the bail, if granted by the court.
In a short ruling, Justice Oweibo admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N1m and two sureties in like sum.
The judge added that the sureties must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, show a tax clearance certificate of three months as well as their passport photographs.
The defendant was also ordered to deposit his passport with the court.
The matter was later adjourned till June 27, 2023 for the commencement of trial.