Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Professor Edwin’s Trial Till May 20  

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JUSTICE Dehinde Dipeolu of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has adjourned the trial of Prof. Uche Chigozie Edwin, alleged to have defrauded maize farmers of the sum of  One Billion, Four Hundred Million Naira (N1.400,000,000.00) till 20 May 2024, just as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) opened its case presenting its first witness.

The EFCC had on Thursday, 15 February 2024 re-arraigned Professor Edwin, alongside his companies, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, NEMAD Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, on 11-count charges bordering on conspiracy, retention and conversion of funds to the tune of One Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy-Three Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-Seven Thousand, Forty-Six Naira, Four Kobo (N1,473,367,046.04).

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 One Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy-Three Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-Seven Thousand, Forty-Six Naira, Four Kobo (N1, 473,367,046.04) 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.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the counts.

At the resumed sitting on 13 March 2024, prosecuting counsel, C.C. Okezie called the first prosecution witness (PW1), Mary Kugbe, a Compliance Officer with United Bank for Africa (UBA). 

In her evidence, Kugbe told the court that although she did not know the defendant personally, she was aware that he maintains an account with the bank through his company, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited (2nd defendant).

“Sometime in 2021, we received a request from the EFCC, requesting for the statement of account and account opening packages of the 2nd defendant”, she said.

“We obliged them and forwarded all the documents. The document forms part of the records of the bank and also came from the bank.”  She further identified the said documents in open court.

Okezie, thereafter, applied to tender the letter dated 27 September 2021, along with its attachment. The documents were admitted by the court and marked as exhibits. 

Justice Dipeolu adjourned the matter till 20 and 21, May 2024, for continuation of trial.

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media 

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