Edward Nnachi, Abakaliki
A suspected fraudster, Joseph Osuji, 55, has been remanded in a correctional centre by an Ebonyi State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Abakaliki for allegedly operating an illegal bank account with Ebonyi State Government as the account name.
Osuji was alleged to have operated the account between 2018 and 2019 and received over N141m in deposits from unsuspecting members of public.
Southern City News gathered that the suspect, who hails from Imo State, allegedly committed the offences between June 2018 and June 2019 in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
The accused was arraigned by the Department of State Services on five counts of felony, fraud, conspiracy, operating an illegal account and false representation.
The DSS prosecutor, C. P. Njoku, told the court that the offences were punishable under sections 516A (a), 484 and 467 (3) (c) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009, and Section 1 (3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offenses Act, 2006.
The charge read in part, “That you, Joseph Okechukwu Osuji, and others now at large, between June 2018 and June 2019 in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, under the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit; operating an illegal Ebonyi State Government bank account with your name and signature, knowing same to be fake and illegal, and received the sum of N141,585,000.00 and thereafter transmitted same to several other accounts, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516A (a) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
“That you, Joseph Okechukwu Osuji, and others now at large, at the aforementioned place and date under the jurisdiction of this honourable court, falsely represented yourself as the only person required to open a functional Ebonyi State account, which also had you as the sole signatory, a claim you knew was not legitimate, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 484 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.”
The accused was not granted bail because no bail application was made as he had no defence counsel.
The Chief Magistrate, Nnenna Onuoha, said the matter was beyond the court to adjudicate.
Onuoha directed that the suspect should be remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Abakaliki, and his case file transferred to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the state for advice.
The matter was adjourned till February 5, 2020, for report on compliance.