22nd March, 2017
The trial of Giwa Useni John, Pius Iorye Uganden and Nancy Uganden for a N30 million fraud continued on March 21, 2017 before Justice O.A. Otaluka of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Lugbe, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, presenting two witnesses against them.
They are facing a five-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, to which on March 7, 2017 they pleaded “not guilty”.
They are alleged to have disguised as members of the Ad-hoc committee on the sale of Federal Government of Nigeria Houses in the FCT with the “intent to obtain money under false pretence”.
The fraud was allegedly committed in 2013.
At the resumed sitting, the first witness, Emeka Adiele, a lawyer, while being led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rimamsomte Ezekiel, gave insight into how a petition by Phillip Chukweke, sometime in April 2016 exposed the shady activities of the defendants.
“I received his complaint, in which he alleged that the defendants, defrauded him in a business deal in which he wanted to buy one property located at 3, Zinguinchor Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja,” he said.
He further told the court that Chukweke, who is also the Managing Director of Communication Towers Nigeria Limited, and the defendants, signed a Memorandum of Understanding and payment plan agreement.
“However, after the initial deposit of N30 million by Chukweke, he was given forged receipt by the defendants in respect of the said property,” he added.
He further explained that the said property was valued at N250 million, and that “after six months, the defendants failed to raise the necessary allocation papers from the Federal Capital Development Area, FCDA”.
The prosecution, through its second witness, Efejuku Deston, an EFCC operative, tendered letters dated September 11 and 12, 2016 obtained from the Ad-hoc committee, which disowned the defendants. The letters were accepted as exhibits against the defendant.
“The letter indicated that the defendants were not members of the committee and so had no right to act on their behalf in the sale of Federal Government of Nigeria houses,” Deston said.
Furthermore, Ezekiel told the court that the money received by the defendants was never remitted to government. He added that all efforts by the petitioner to get a refund of his money proved abortive.
Justice Otaluka thereafter, adjourned to May 3, 2017 “for further cross-examination and continuation of hearing”.