The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday arraigned one Ikenna Onwuzuruike, also known as Jeff Sikora, before Justice A.T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Onwuzuruike, a self-styled president/chief executive officer of United States-based Prime Trust Credit Union Bank, was arraigned by the EFCC, Port Harcourt Zone on eight counts bordering on conspiracy, impersonation, forgery, possession of proceeds and obtaining money by false pretence.
The suspect was alleged to have swindled his victims to the tune of $8.5m.
The offence contravenes Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
The charge sheet partly read, “That you, Onwuzuruike Ikenna Kingsley (aka Jeff Sikora), on or about the 28th day of December, 2019, at Umuahia, Abia State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of $6,500,000 through web transfer from one Mr. Selah Elnagar Ali Ahmed, a citizen of the Arabic Republic of Egypt, with the pretence that he is a beneficiary of inheritance funds in a fixed deposit account of Prime Trust Financial Bank, USA, a pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.”
However, Onwuzuruike also known as Nwantanayozie pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution counsel, M.T Iko, after listening to the plea by the defendant, prayed the court for a short adjournment.
But the defense counsel, R.E. Wanogho, told the court of a pending application for the bail of the defendant.
Iko immediately announced his opposition to the application on the grounds that he was only “served this morning” and needed time to respond to it.
Justice Mohammed adjourned the matter to July 3, 2020 for hearing and ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody.
Onwuzuruike was apprehended following intelligence received by the EFCC on his alleged fraudulent activities.
This led to the arrest of the defendant on January 26, 2020 by the anti-graft agency at his residence along Uzuakoli Road, Umuahia, Abia State.
Investigations revealed that the suspect falsely presented himself as one Jeff Sikora, President/CEO of Prime Trust Credit Union Bank based in the United States of America with the intent to defraud his victims.
The defendant, who was said to have forged the identity card of the said Sikora, allegedly defrauded an Egyptian of the sum of $6,500,000.00 on the pretext that he was a beneficiary of Inheritance Funds in a fixed deposit account of Prime Trust Financial Bank.
The defendant also collected the sum of $2,000, which was transferred to him by his accomplice, one Obi Taxas (who is now at large) as part of his share of the heist.