9 July 2010

Nigeria: EFCC Docks Two for Swindling German, American of U.S. $1 Million

Abuja — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday said it had arraigned one George Nwokonko, 48, before an Ikeja High Court for allegedly defrauding Mr. Parkin Ali, a German national of the sum of $904,550.

The commission said the accused was arraigned on a 6 -count charge of obtaining money by false pretence and forgery.

In a press statement signed by Femi Babafemi, head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, the acussed, Mr. Nwokonko pleaded not guilty to the 6- count charge when it was read to him.

According to the statement, Nwokonko's counsel's attempt to move for bail was vehemently opposed by counsel to the EFCC, George Adebola, who said he was statutorily entitled to time to respond. The trial judge, Justice L. A. Okunnu ruled that the EFCC counsel was entitled to time to respond to the bail application, and consequently adjourned the matter to July 13 for ruling while fixing September 22 and 23, 2010 for trial. The judge also ordered that the accused person be remanded in Kirikiri prison.

The statement reads: "Nemesis caught up with Nwokonko when on September 10, 2008, the EFCC received a petition from Mrs Frieda Springer-Beck on behalf of Mr. Pakbin Ali. The petitioner alleged that George Nwokonko and others defrauded Pakbin Ali of about $1 million in a scam in 1995. She added that though the matter had been investigated in the past by the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police, nothing concrete was achieved. EFCC operatives then went into action.

" Investigation shows that sometime in 1995, George Nwokonko and two others at large had a business discussion with Ali Pabkin at No. 4 Oweh Street, Yaba, Lagos to supply chemicals to the complainant for the sum of $150,000 which they never did but collected the money from the complainant in 4 installments of $60,000, $45,000, $25,000 and $20,000".

In a similar development, the EFCC also said it arraigned one Folayemi Oloye at the Ikeja High Court presided over by Justice L. A. Okunnu for obtaining money by false pretence.

According to EFCC spokesman, Oloye was arraigned on a 10-count charge of obtaining $133,000 from Nousshin Hart under false pretence. Oloye, alias Cole Whannel claimed that the money represented fees for storage, shipping charges and taxes for exportation of coconut for Bio fuel to the United States of America.

The commission also said its investigation was based on a petition by Ronald Nolan, a legal attaché of United States Consulate on behalf of one Dr. Nousshin Izadifor Hart of Houston, Texas. Oloye was said to have fraudulently obtained the sum of $133,000 under the pretence that the money would be used to export coconut to America for Bio Fuel which he never did.

"Oloye and Izadifor Hart, a Radiation Oncologist met online through a dating service called e- harmony that matches single men and women based on compatibility. Oloye was introduced to Hart as a 49- year old, mechanical engineer and widower based in Houston, who lost his wife some years ago. In the course of their interaction, the suspect informed the complainant that he had a company and was in Nigeria seeking to purchase raw coconut to be used in the US as bio-fuel. He claimed he needed money and had no access to his account in the US , and was basically stuck in Nigeria . Persuaded by the love she had for Oloye, Hart wired $133,000 to him in several trenches. But Oloye pleaded not guilty to the charges." Meanwhile, Justice Akunnu has fixed ruling on the bail application for July 19 while ordering that the accused be remanded in prison custody.

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