Three businessmen were on Monday remanded in prison over their alleged involvement in a 146,060 dollars (N52.87 million) fraud on the orders of an Ikeja High Court.
The trio — Martins Nwaedi, 48; Oliseh Anthony, 38; and Victor Okafor, 43; and a company, Marydicc Ventures Ltd — were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly defrauding an American of the amount in a phony business transaction.
However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the nine-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and use of forged documents.
Following their pleas, the vacation judge, Justice Oyindamola Ogala ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison and adjourned the case until Sept. 6 for the hearing of their bail applications.
The EFCC alleged that in the phony transaction, Nwaedi went by the alias Prince Martins Dike while Anthony used the aliases Lawrence Mhkize, Terry Cassidy, Okolie Anthony and Dike Anthony.
According to Mrs Zainab Ettu, the prosecution counsel, the three men committed the offences between March 2012 and June 2015 in Lagos.
“The businessmen connived to defraud Mr Khanh Lai, a United States of America citizen of the said sum on the pretext of helping him to secure an investment in Nigeria worth 200 million dollars.
“The investment in question belonged to one late Mr John Alex Ivan, a U.S. national, who had resided and died in Nigeria.
“The defendants initially fraudulently obtained 137, 380 dollars in March 2012 as the cost of an investment deposit certificate worth N200 million.
“They later demanded a legal fee of 8,680 dollars cash deposit in June 2015 from their victim,” she said.
The offences, Ettuh said, contravened Sections 1(1), (a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2006.