The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday arraigned one Barrister Odi Okereke Ajike and his company Natuzzi Nigeria Limited before the Lagos State High Court on a 3 count charge of conspiracy to steal contrary to section 516 of the criminal code, Law of Lagos State.
Ajike, 43, was said to have sometime in 2008 with intent to defraud conspired to commit felony by allegedly stealing the sum of N36 million (Thirty Six Million Naira) property of Barrister Emeka Nwajiuba. Ajike was also said to have knowingly and fraudulently issued a Diamond bank cheque of N4 million to Nwajiuba which on presentation was dishonoured on the ground of insufficient funds in the account of Natuzzi Nigeria Limited.
Ajike pleaded not guilty to the 3 counts when they were read to him. Counsel to EFCC, Cosmos Ugwu asked the court to fix a trial date and also requested that the accused person be remanded in prison custody. Efforts by counsel to the accused, U. C. Ukebule, to move for bail was refused by the trial judge who said it has to be done properly. Justice Okunnu then adjourned to June 1 for hearing of the bail application while trial was slated for 18/91 of September. Justice Lateefa Okunnu ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody.
Ajike journey to prison began when the sum of N36 million was paid into his account pending it disbursement to the rightful owners by Barrister Nwajiuba. However, when it was time for the money to be refunded, Barrister Ajike could not account for the money again. He subsequently issued a cheque of N4 million which was dishonoured.
In the similar development, EFCC also on Tuesday arraigned one Wilson Opuwei and his company, Dateline Energy Services before Justice Habeeb Abiru of the Lagos High Court on a four count charge of obtaining money by false pretence contrary to section 1((1)(a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. Opuwei was said to have sometime in April 2011 with intent to defraud obtained the sum of $500,000 (five hundred thousand dollars) through one Chimaobi Anyaso from Prince Donatus Okonkwo under the pretence that the money was for the payment for the allocation of 5000 metric tons of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) to him from Petroleum Product Marketing Company, PPMC. He was also said to have further defrauded Prince Donatus Okonkwo of $50,000 under the pretence that the money represent part payment for the allocation of 5000 metric tons of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) from PPMC.
Wilson Opuwei, however, pleaded not guilty to four count charge. Justice Abiru adjourned to May 31 for hearing of the bail application while ordering that the accused be remanded in EFCC custody.
Media & Publicity Unit
22nd May, 2012.