A legal practitioner, Chief Chito Ezeani, was yesterday arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos, on alleged fraud of N12.530, 000 million.
Ezeani was arraigned before Justice Muslim Hassan, by men of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos, alongside his company, Amazing Grace Properties and Agency, on a seven count-charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining under false presence, and fraud.
The offences according to the prosecution, Barrister Chukwu Agwu, are 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.
The accused pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
SFU in a charge marked FHC/L/163c/2018, alleged that the lawyer and 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.
He was alleged to have 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.
However, upon the defendant’s plea of not guilty, his lawyer, Mr. P. A. Irerime, told the court that his client’s bail application was just filed, and that he is yet to serve the prosecution.
He also told the court that his client and the nominal complainants are in the exploring an amicable settlement of the matter, he therefore urged the court to remand the defendant at the SFU’s facility, pending the hearing and determination of the bail application.
Responding, the prosecutor, Mr. Agwu, opposed request for the lawyer to be remanded at SFU’s facility, saying that the facility has been over strength.
Agwu also told the court that the prosecution is not aware of any settlement between the parties.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Sule Hassan, ordered that the defendant be remanded at the SFU’S facility, pending the hearing and determination of the bail application.
This matter was consequently adjourned till September 26, for hearing of the defendant’s bail application.