N20m fraud: Lagos police arraign insurance firm’s boss

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The Lagos State Police Command on Thursday arraigned the managing director of an insurance company, John Ethagbe, before a Federal High Court sitting in the state for alleged N20m fraud.

Ethagbe was arraigned on two counts bordering on an alleged conspiracy to commit fraud and obtaining money under false pretence preferred against him by the Police Special Fraud Unit in the state.

The prosecutor, Henry Obiaze, told the court that the defendant alongside one Jerome Itepu (now at large) committed the offences sometime in December 2012 in the state.

He told the court that the defendant allegedly obtained the said sum from one Felix Ogbe, with the pretence that the money was for the execution of a contract awarded to them by the Federal Government.

According to the prosecutor, the offences committed contravened Sections 8(a) and 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Related offences Act 2006, and were punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2006.

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The defendant who was brought before Justice Yelim Bogoro, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following his not-guilty plea, the prosecutor urged the court to remand him at the correctional facility and asked for a trial date.

But the lawyer to the defendant, Sylvanus Ogwemoh (SAN), while moving the defendant’s bail application, told the court that the matter that led to the charges was purely a civil contract between parties.

He said his client only introduced parties to each other, adding that no money was received by his client.

Ogwemoh further told the court that the cheques issued in the course of the contract were not issued in his client’s name.

He begged the court to grant his client bail on self-recognisance and also promised to produce the defendant on the trial date if the court released the defendant to him.

The prosecutor, in his response to the defendant’s counsel’s request, urged the court to refuse to grant the defendant bail on self-recognizance.

After listening to both parties, Justice Bogoro released the defendant to his lawyer with an order to produce him at the next adjourned date.

The case was adjourned till March 21, 2023, for a ruling on the bail application.

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