A suspected fraudster, Emeofa Michael Ikechukwu, alias Michael Briggs, was on Thursday, June 11, 2015, re-arraigned before Justice I.E Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The suspect, who had earlier been arraigned on March 10, 2015 before Justice H.A. Nganjiwa, is being prosecuted on a nine-count charge bordering on impersonation, forgery and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of over $127,000
Ikechukwu had allegedly obtained the money from his Swiss girlfriend, Misepasi, whom he met on a dating site in February 2013, after tricking her to invest in a phony timber business.
One of the counts reads: “That you Emeofa Michael Ikechukwu (Alias Michael Briggs) sometime in April , 2013 in Port Harcourt and within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of $77,003.95 (Seventy- Seven Thousand, Three Dollars, Ninety-Five Cents) from one Misepasi and which you purportedly claimed to be a business partner dealing with timber which pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under section 1 (3) of the same Act.”
However, the suspect pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him.
In view of his plea, counsel to EFCC, D. Ademu Eteh, prayed the court to open his case.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the case to June 15, 2015 for hearing on the motion for bail and ordered the accused to be remanded in prison custody.
The accused allegedly hacked into his victims’ email and later contact their friends or associates for money. One of the victims, Innocent after receiving a mail from the accused, disguising to be a friend, deposited the sum of One Hundred and Fifty Five Thousand Naira (N155, 000.00) into his account with a new generation bank.
The accused however entered a not- guilty plea, when the charge was read to him.
In view of the plea of the accused, the prosecution counsel, Ramiah O.E. Ikhanaede prayed for a date for trial.
Justice Ekwo ordered that the accused be remanded in EFCC’s custody and adjourned the matter to 18th June, 2015 for hearing of bail application and commencement of trial.