The police have re-arraigned an unregistered Bureau De Change (BDC) operator, Uju Peace Izuogu, before Justice Ayokunle Faji of a Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged N162 million fraud.
Uju was re-arraigned at the weekend alongside her accomplice, Richard Owegie, and a firm, Reoworld Enterprises Limited, on a three-count charge of fraud, obtaining under false pretence and receiving and retaining proceeds of fraud.
They were earlier arraigned on 4th September, 2019 before the court on charges of fraud, obtaining under false pretence and issuance of dud cheques.
Both the prosecution and the defence lawyers have concluded their cases before the court and the matter has been adjourned for adoption of written addresses.
However, at the last hearing of the case, police prosecutor, CSP Emmanuel Jackson, drew the court’s attention to an amended charge which he said the old charge had to be amended following discovery of some grammatical errors.
He sought the court’s permission for the new charge dated 3rd March, 2020 to be read to the defendants.
He also told the court that the defendants would not be prejudiced by the amended charge as the parties and other information on the old charge were retained in the new charge.
In the absence of any opposition from the defence lawyers, E. O. Okoli and V. C. Odinaka, a fresh plea of the defendants was taken and they pleaded not guilty.
Afterwards, the prosecutor told the court that he had filed a written address on the amended charge and same had been served on the defendants.
However, the defence team told the court that they needed time to respond to the prosecution’s written address on the amended charge.
Consequently, Justice Faji adjourned the matter to September 16 for the adoption of parties’ written addresses.
Uju alongside Richard and the firm, Reoworld Enterprises Limited, in a charge marked FHC/L/295c/17, were alleged to have between January and May 2016, conspired to fraudulently obtained the sum of N162 million from a lawyer, Nwosu Maduabuchi, under the pretence that they would assist him in sending it to his clients in China, Dubai and Turkey, for the payment of goods he ordered for.
The second defendant, Richard, was alleged to have aided the first defendant, Uju, to obtain the money from Maduabuchi, who sourced the money from his different clients, and allow his Diamond Bank account to be used to receive and retain the money, and later diverted and disbursed it to third parties on the instructions of the first accused person.
The offences were said to be contrary to and punishable under Sections 8(a) and 1(3), and 1(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2014.