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Fraud: Obinwanne Okeke faces 30 years in U.S. prison, may forfeit $11 million and diamond ring

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A federal grand jury in the United States has indicted Obinwanne Okeke for $11 million fraud, paving way for the Nigerian to face a criminal trial.

The jury also recommended that Mr Okeke be made to forfeit at least $11 million in cash and asset or both if convicted.

An emerald cut engagement ring found on him when he was arrested should also be forfeited, the jury ruled.

Okeke, who faces up to 30 years if convicted, has named John Iweanoge, a Washington D.C. attorney of Nigerian origin, as his lead counsel.

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According to Premium Times, he would be expected to enter a plea during his September 16 appearance.

Okeke, popularly known as Invictus Obi, is the founder of Invictus Group of Companies, an investment conglomerate dealing in construction, agriculture, oil and gas, renewable energy, telecoms, and real estate. The 31-year-old was arrested on August 6 in the U.S. and slammed with two counts of computer and wire fraud. He was subsequently taken before a court and remanded in prison following preliminary hearings.

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While he remained in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, a grand jury was set up to look into the allegations against him.

The jury returned on September 9 with an indictment of Mr Okeke for the $11 million fraud.

A grand jury typically consists of 23 people who may not necessarily be lawyers or have law enforcement backgrounds.

The F.B.I. had detailed the fraud in its criminal affidavit against Mr Okeke as involving a subsidiary of heavy equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar. The business email compromise (BEC) fraud was carried out in 2018, American authorities said.

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The jury agreed with the F.B.I. findings that Mr Okeke, better known in Nigeria as ‘businessman’ Invictus Obi, was the individual who committed the fraud alongside others.

It was unclear whether Mr Okeke’s alleged accomplices have been identified or authorities have deliberately concealed their details because they are still at large.

 

Crime

Man, 45, bags 15-year jail term for raping his tenant’s niece

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An Igbosere High Court in Lagos, on Monday, sentenced an ex-staff of an oil company, James Onuoha, to 15 years at the correctional centre for raping his tenant’s 14-year-old niece.

Justice Adedayo Akintoye sentenced Onuoha, 42, and an engineer, without an option of fine.

On Jan. 14, the court had adjourned the case until March 25, for judgment, after the parties adopted their final written addresses.

But judgement could not be pronounced due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, which led to the lockdown of almost all sectors of the economy in March, including the Judiciary.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, the Lagos State Prosecuting Counsel, Mr Babatunde Sunmonu, and the defence counsel, Dr Victor Olowonla, announced their appearance.

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Before the verdict was handed down, Olowonla, in his allocutions, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as Onuoha was a first-time offender.

“My lord, he is a first-time offender; he is a family man with wife and children, and also the breadwinner of his family.

“He has lost his job since this case came up; going by the circumstances of this case, I urge my lord to temper justice with mercy,” he said.

Onouah, who was charged to court by the Lagos State Government, was first arraigned in January 2016 at the Magistrates’ Court on a four-count charge bordering on defilement.

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Onuoha was remanded in Kirikiri correctional centre pending legal advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Following his indictment by the DPP, the case was transferred to the high court for trial.

The state government accused Onuoha of committing the alleged offences on Jan. 4, 2016, at No.25, Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Ike-Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos.

The prosecution said the defendant willfully had an unlawful sexual act with the teenager.

He said the offences contravened Sections 137 and 258 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

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Onuoha, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge, hence the prosecution opened its case and called witnesses, including the victim.

After the prosecution closed its case, Onuoha opened his defence, narrating to the court how he visited his house at the above address to ask for rent from his tenant who was not at home at the time of his visit.

Onuoha said the victim was the only person at home, adding that he entered the apartment to inspect it and thereafter gave the victim N1, 000 as Christmas gift.

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Crime

Security guard confesses to rape of nine-year-old in Abuja

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girlfriend’s four-year-old twins

An Upper Area Court in Gwagwalada, FCT, on Monday, ordered that a security man, Gideon Sunday who allegedly defiled a nine-year-old girl be remanded in police custody.

Sunday was arraigned on a one-count charge of abuse of a minor.

The Judge, Sani Umar granted the application made by the prosecuting counsel, Akaso Sunday not to grant bail to the defendant.

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Umar ordered that the defendant be remanded under police custody for one week.

Earlier, the prosecution counsel Sunday told the court that on May 12, 2020, one Grace Abitayo reported the case at the police station.

He said that the defendant on May 6, 2020, took the girl to his room and had carnal knowledge of her.

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He added that during police investigation the defendant confessed to have committed the offence.

He prayed the court not to grant bail to the defendant, saying that the offence was not bailable.

He said that if granted bail the defendant would jump bail and would also jeopardise the ongoing investigation, adding that the court should refuse him bail.

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The offence, he said, contravened the provision of sections 275 of the Penal Code.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty, NAN reports.

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Crime

Group asks court to compel DSS, IGP to investigate Omo-Agege

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The Incorporated Trustees of Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative on Monday, asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to compel the Director-General, Department of State Services, (DSS), and the Inspector- General of Police to investigate the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.

The group wants the security agencies to investigate Omo-Agege over his alleged conviction in the United States in November 1995.

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A motion ex parte filed by the group further prayed the court to order Omo-Agege to step down from office as deputy senate president pending the completion of the investigation.

Counsel to the group, Mr. Edward Omaga said his client asked the deputy senate president to step down to allow for transparent and fair investigation and to also prevent him from interfering with the investigation.

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The group also prayed the court to declare that refusal of the DSS and the IGP to investigate Omo-Agege would be deemed unjustifiable, wrongful, and tantamount to dereliction of duties under the relevant laws that established them.

According to Omaga, in the affidavit attached to the motion exparte, until the DSS and the IGP are compelled by an order of the court, they will continue to refuse to investigate Omo-Agege.

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The plaintiff said in the suit that it was convinced that any action or inaction of persons occupying elective and appointive positions would have a direct impact on the overwhelming unemployed youths in the country.
No date has however been fixed for hearing in the suit.

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