Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of the Edo State High Court in Benin City found four guilty of fraud and sent them to prison on Tuesday.
The four people involved are: Raymond Oghosa Ogiemwonyi, Chata Okoro, Osagie Ogiemwonyi, and Chukwudi Uwadia. The EFCC’s Benin Zonal Command brought single counts of personation and retention of proceeds of crime against each of them.
According to the indictment, Ogiemwonyi is accused of committing a crime by “knowingly taking possession of the total sum of Eight Million, Two Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Seventy-six Naira Eighty-eight Kobo (N8,217,076.88) sometime between May 2022 and October 13, 2022, in Benin City within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court.”
Each defendant admitted guilt when arraigned.
IK U Udus and I K Agwa, the prosecutors, asked the court to find them guilty and impose the appropriate sentence in light of their plea. Chris Otasome, who represented the defendants in court, argued that the court should exercise some leniency because his clients were first-time offenders who now feel remorse for their actions.
Oghosa Ogiemwonyi, Osagie Ogiemwonyi, and Chata Okoro were each convicted and sentenced to three years in prison with the option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira by Justice Ikponmwonba, while Chukwudi Uwadia was given two years in jail or a fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira only.
The proceeds of the crime, including a Lexus RS350 from 2010, the remaining N9,107.51 in Raymond Oghosa Ogiemwonyi’s Access bank account, a laptop computer, and mobile phones, must be turned over to the Nigerian government.
Meanwhile, on December 6, 2022, one Victor Omeni Njoku was brought before Justice Ikponmwonba by the Benin Zonal Command for arraignment on a count charge of possession of proceeds of crime.
The complaint against him reads as follows: “that on or about December 16 2021, in Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, you, Victor Omeni Njoku (M) (trading under the name and style of Adon projects NIG), did have in your possession the sum of Ten Million Naira (N10,000,000) in your bank account number 5600175843 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc, transferred from United Bank for Africa bank account of Aigbob.
In response to his not-guilty plea at arraignment, the prosecutor (I K Agwai) asked the court to keep him in jail until his trial date was set. On the other hand, the defence attorney argued that his client should be granted bail because the alleged crime was bailable.
The defendant was released on bail by Justice Ikponmwonba for one million naira, with a guarantor in the same amount. The court registrar and the EFCC must confirm the surety’s employment status.
The hearing has been set on January 10, 2023.