Nigeria: EFCC Arraigns Ugwu Chekwube for N85 Million Contract Fraud in Enugu

Nigeria: EFCC Arraigns Ugwu Chekwube for N85 Million Contract Fraud in Enugu

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

In a significant development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has brought Ugwu Chekwube before Justice Mohammed Umar of the Federal High Court in Enugu. Chekwube, along with his accomplice Ugo Onuaguluchi, who is currently at large, has been charged with the intention to defraud Zod International Developers of N85 million. The alleged fraud was carried out under the guise of securing a contract for the construction of six district hospitals in Ebonyi State.

According to the EFCC’s statement released on Monday, Chekwube has been arraigned on four counts, including conspiracy and obtaining by false pretense. It was revealed that after receiving the substantial sum of money, the defendant failed to secure the promised contract or refund the funds to the petitioner.

One of the counts read, “That you, Ugwu Alexander Chekwube and one Ugo Sunday Onuaguluchi (At large) from 2nd November 2022 to 6th December 2022 in Enugu, Enugu State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.” The prosecution has alleged that the fraudsters induced Zod International Developers to deliver N85 million by falsely claiming they would assist in securing the construction contract for six district hospitals in Ebonyi State.

The offense committed by Chekwube is in violation of Section 1(1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and is punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act, as stated in the EFCC’s statement.

During the court proceedings, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” upon hearing the charges leveled against him. The EFCC’s counsel, Nuradeen Ingawa, requested a trial date and asked that the defendant be remanded at the Enugu State Correctional Center. However, the defense counsel, M. C. Onwuzuruoha, informed the court about a pending bail application.

Subsequently, Justice Umar adjourned the case until April 17, 2024, to hear the bail application and ordered that the defendant be remanded at the Enugu State Correctional facility.

The EFCC has recently intensified its efforts to combat fraudulent activities in various sectors. Just last week, the agency arrested 37 suspected internet fraudsters in different parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. These individuals will also face trial once the investigation is concluded.

The arraignment of Ugwu Chekwube serves as a reminder of the EFCC’s commitment to tackling financial crimes and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice. It is crucial for individuals and organizations to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities.

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