EFCC Arraigns Two Over Alleged N382m Contract Fraud in Enugu

Ani and Obasi vehemently opposed the applications on the ground that if granted bail, the defendants might jump bail considering the gravity of the offence.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Enugu Zonal Command has arraigned suspects, Onuaguluchi Chris and Izuchukwu David, before Justice Mohammed Umar of the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu.

The anti-graft agency announced their arraignments on its official X page on Wednesday.

The defendants were arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of crime and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N382,336,955.

They allegedly swindled one Mackombo Omoila, Managing Director/CEO of Architekon Nigeria Limited of the said sum for a purported non-existent World Health Organisation contract to construct six Unity Houses for hospitals in six Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Mr Izuchukwu Shedrack David, Mrs Onuaguluchi Ifeakanwa Chris and Chief S. C. Ugwuanyi (Now at large), sometime between 4th May 2023 in Enugu, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, by false pretences and with intent to defraud, obtained from Architekon Nigeria Limited, an aggregate sum of Three-hundred and Thirty-one Million, Three-hundred and Seventy-six Thousand Naira (331, 376, 000. 00), paid into account number 1534670390, with account name Izuchukwu Shedrack David, domiciled in Access Bank Plc by falsely representing that the money is meant for counterpart fund for a contract to construct six unity houses for hospitals in six Local Government Areas in Ebonyi State as approved by World Health Organisation, a pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.

The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

Counsels to the EFCC, Michael Ikechukwu Ani and Blessing Obasi, in view of the defendant’s pleas, urged the court for a trial date and for them to be remanded at Enugu State Correctional facility.

Defencepraying counsels, E. C. Chinenyeze and C. I. Enechionyia, however, informed the court about pending bail applications before it, moving the said applications and prayed the court to grant their clients bail on liberal terms.

Considering the gravity of the offence, the EFCC counsels opposed the applications, saying that if granted bail, the defendants might jump bail.

The matter was thereafter adjourned to June 6, 2024, for a ruling on the bail applications while the defendants were remanded at the Enugu State Correctional Facility.

The arraignment of Chris and David has elicited varied reactions from the public and stakeholders in Enugu and beyond. For many, this case symbolizes the ongoing battle against corruption and the need for stringent measures to curb economic crimes that undermine national development. The alleged N382 million fraud is seen as a significant breach of public trust, and there is widespread support for the EFCC’s efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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