Nigeria

Fraud: Court grants Canadian-based Nigerian businessman N85 million bail

Prosecutors failed to attend Tuesday’s hearing at the federal high court in Lagos, having previously failed to present some of their witnesses in a case that had been adjourned on several occasions.

A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted bail to a Nigerian-Canadian businessman, Edrian Ididia Osagie, held by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N84 million fraud.

Ruling on his bail application in suit number FHC/L/CS/1742/2021, Justice Daniel Osiagor held that the surety is to either provide a house which value is not less than N85 million or provide a bank guarantee of not less than N85 million.

Justice Osiagor granted him bail after hearing the applicant’s counsel, Mr. Osasu Isibor, alongside Mr. G. U. Okoli, and moved in terms of the bail application.

The Judge held on December 31, 2021, that: “The applicant’s travel documents are to be deposited in the Court Registry pending his proper arraignment,” as he reprimanded the EFCC for detaining him for over two months without trial.

According to his lawyers, the applicant, a Canadian resident, was held by the EFCC following his arrival in Nigeria for a function based on a petition written against him by his business partners, although they were on the verge of resolving the conflict amicably as friends and business partners.

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“It was a business transaction that didn’t go well. The complainants approached him to help them buy cars from Canada. This is not the first time he helped them to buy cars.

“But due to insurance issues and the COVID-19 locked down globally, he could not deliver the cars.

“He was reported to the EFCC and was locked up for over two months without being charged to court, consequent upon which we filed the application for his bail.

“After so much power tussle and incessant disobedience of the court order of Justice Daniel Osiagor, we filed a contempt proceeding and served the EFCC on January 24, 2022,” the lawyer stated.

He added that the best option to address the dispute was for the complainant to seek redress in court and not use the EFCC as a tool of intimidation and harassment against the defendant.

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Osagie is facing a two-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining money by false pretence

He was alleged to have been between September 13, 2019, and October 29, 2019, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of the court, fraudulently obtained the sum of N84, 000,000 from Mr. Mark David Umeh on the false representation that he had three Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for sale, which representation was false.

Another count read: “Edrian Osagie Ididia, between September 13, 2019, and October 29, 2019, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court, dishonestly stole and converted to your own use the sum of N84,000,000, property of Mr. Mark David Umeh.”

However, he pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to him in court.

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