Court Remands 3 ‘Wonder Bank’ Operators Over Alleged N59m Fraud

A Lagos Federal High Court, today, ordered the remand of alleged three Ponzi scheme operators, arraigned before the court on charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and operating Financial Institution without license, till May 19, when their bail applications will be argued and determined.

The alleged Ponzi scheme operators are: Ifechukwu Helen Chimaobi, Abazu Tochukwu and Ojukwu Lucas.

The court presided over by Justice Abimbola Awogboro, remanded the two men and a woman, after they pleaded not guilty to the charges made against them by the operatives of Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU).

Arraigning the defendants, the prosecutor, Sylvester Azubuike, told the court that the defendants committed the offences sometimes in June 2021.

Azubuike also told the court that the defendants conspired among themselves and fraudlently obtained the sum N59 million from the dou of Mathew Ibeneme and Osita Micheal, under the pretence of keeping the money in an unregistered bank and give back high return on investment.
He told the court that the offences committed by the defendants contravened Sections  8(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

He also told the court that the defendants’ actions, contravened section 58 (1) and punishable under section 59(6) (a & b) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Cap B3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. 

All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecutor, Mr. Azubuike, asked the court for a trial date.

However, lawyers to the defendants, informed the court that they are filing their clients’ bail applications and pleaded with the court for a stand down so that the applications can be heard and determined.

The defendants’ lawyers also, pleaded with the court to remand their clients at the PSFU custody, till the hearing and determination of the bail applications.

But the presiding judge, Justice Awogboro, declined the defendants’ lawyer request to remand their clients with the police. 

The judge held that after arraignment, the defendants should be remand at the Correctional Services’ custody.

The judge consequently, ordered that the defendants be remanded at the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) till May 19, when their bail applications will be entertained, and fixed June 5, for trial