N5Bn Scam: EFCC arraigns Port Harcourt Ponzi Scheme promoter, secures conviction of three internet fraudsters in Abuja

Posted by News Express | 24 December 2019 | 1,414 times

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Port Harcourt Zonal Office, on Monday,  December 23, 2019 arraigned Mr. Suani Neewi, Managing Director of Bluekey Technologies Nigeria Limited and Cityclyk Bluekey Payment, and his two companies before Justice I. M Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on three- count charges bordering on conspiracy, carrying out banking business without licence and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N5,084,491,253.92) contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

Specifically, Neewi allegedly opened his two companies as a pseudo bank, took deposits from members of the public and promised them 10% returns on their investments every week. The business went awry and the EFCC got wind of it and moved to salvage the situation.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Bluekey Technologies Nigeria Limited, Cityclyk Bluekey Payment Solutions and Neewi Suani sometime in 2019, in Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud, obtained the Sum of N5,084,491,253.92 (Five Billion, and Eighty Four Million, Four Hundred and Ninety One Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty Three Naira, Ninety Two Kobo) by inducing unsuspecting members of the public to invest with your company BlueKey Technologies Nigeria Limited, Cityclyk Bluekey Payment Solutions, Bluekey Woji Multipurpurpose Cooperative Society, assuring them under a false pretence of making a 10 percent profit on all investments made,  a representation 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 No. 14, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to them.

In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsel C. Okorie prayed the court to fix a date for commencement of trial.

However, counsel to the defendants, M. O. Salihu, informed the court of his application for bail of the defendants.

Justice Sani granted the defendants bail in the sum of N20 million and two sureties in like sum. The sureties must have landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court and must swear to an affidavit of means. The sureties must present three years tax certificate and two recent passport photographs to be deposited with the court. Also, the sureties’ address should be verified by the Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) of the court.

The Judge also ordered that the defendants be remanded in a Correctional Centre, pending the perfection of the bail while the matter was adjourned till February 25, 2020 for commencement of trial.

In another development, Justice A.O Musa of the FCT High Court, Abuja, also yesterday, convicted and sentenced three internet fraudsters to 14 months imprisonment for defrauding their victims to the tune of $4,385.

The Abuja Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arraigned Emakhu Perfect Odion (alias Harry Wilson/Michael Brown), Chukwuemeka Chanimuya and Oris Karim Ogheneovo (alias James Hopkins) on separate charges that border on cheating, an offence contrary to Section 320(b) and punishable under Section 322 of the Panel Code Act, Laws of the Federation (Abuja).

While Emakhu was docked on a two count charge for duping victims of $2,815 and $1,570 on the pretext of processing loans for them, Chanimuya who falsely claimed to be a Dane and obtained 50,000kr (Kroner), from one Catherine, was prosecuted on one count of personation and cheating.

Karim who posed as James Hopkins, a Danish citizen on Facebook and tricked his female victims to pay him the sum of N1,250,000 after lying to them that he needed financial help having been involved in an accident, was arraigned on one count of romance scam.

After the charges were read to the three defendants, they pleaded guilty.

Prosecution counsel, H. M. Muhammed, told the court that the defendants had entered into a plea bargain with the prosecution and prayed the court to adopt the agreement, convict and sentence them accordingly.

The defence counsel, Gali Usman and Chuka Obidike, told the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that the defendants were remorseful and would forfeit all the proceeds of the crime.

Justice Musa convicted and sentenced them separately. Emakhu was convicted and sentenced to five months imprisonment or an option of N50,000 fine, while Oris Karim bagged five months imprisonment with option of N60,000 fine. Chukwuemeka was also convicted and sentenced to four months imprisonment with option of N200,000 fine.

Source: News Express

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