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EFCC arraigns Onitsha market leader for alleged N6.7m fraud



The Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the Chairman, Onitsha/Odekpe Plastic Market Association, Obinna Calistus Okoli before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, sitting in Awka, Anambra State for obtaining under false pretence to the tune of N6,700,000.00.

Okoli was arraigned on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 alongside Onitsha/Odekpe Plastic Market Association on a two-count charge bordering on obtaining under false pretence to the tune of N6,700,000.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Obinna Calistus Okoli (while being Chairman of Onitsha/Odekpe Plastic Market Association) and Onitsha/Odekpe Plastic Market Association between May 2018 and July 2020 in Onitsha, Anambra State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria with intent to defraud induced one Mr. Joseph Okechukwu Enyiuche to deliver to you the sum of (N6,700,000.00) Six Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira under the pretence that you would allocate to him four shops in the proposed lock-up stalls/shops to be built at water melon land which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.

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They pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

In view of their pleas, counsel to the EFCC, Nuradeen Shehu Ingawa prayed the court for a trial date and for the defendant to be remanded at the Correctional Centre. Defence counsel, E. O. Igowe made an oral application for bail but was vehemently opposed by Ingawa who reminded the defence counsel that it was a court of records.

Justice Dimgba thereafter adjourned the matter till Friday, February 16, 2024 for hearing of bail application. The defendants were remanded in EFCC custody.

A statement on Wednesday by Dele Oyewale, Head, Media & Publicity of the commission revealed that the defendant was arrested by operatives of the Enugu Zonal Command of the EFCC when a petitioner alleged that Okoli fraudulently obtained N6,700,000.00 from him in order to help him secure four lock-up shops at a proposed mall to be built at water melon land in Anambra State.

The petitioner said that after making payment for the shops, he discovered that the defendant had no shops left to be allocated to him and all efforts made to get his money back proved abortive.

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