EFCC Re-arraigns Professor For Allegedly Defrauding Maize Growers of N1.47bn

Posted on February 15, 2024

BY MICHAEL AKINOLA 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday, re-arraigned a Professor, Uche Chigozie, and some companies. before a Federal High Court Lagos, over alleged N1.47 billion money laundering.

The companies are: Visionary Integrated Consulting Ltd, Nemad Associates Ltd. and Revamp Global Enterprises.

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

Chigozie, is standing trial before Justice Dehinde Dipeolu, on an 11-counts charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, stealing, and money laundering.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to all counts since the other defendants are 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 transfered out of the Lagos division, and the case was consequently, transferred to the new judge, Dipeolu.

Following the defendants plea on Thursday, 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 certain ocassions , which she claimed had caused some drama.

The prosecutor, therefore, insisted that she will not oppose, if defence counsel makes that 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 aggrement of parties, the court adjourned the case until 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.

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