N4.5m Fraud: EFCC docks fake Immigration contractor

Chinwe Odoemelam docked for fraud EFCC
Chinwe Odoemelam docked by EFCC for fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, December 3, 2020, arraigned one Chinwe Odoemelam, before Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, Abia State for obtaining by trick and falsely parading herself as contractor with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

She was arraigned by the Uyo Zonal Office of the Commission alongside her company, Flourish Global Services International Limited on a five-count charge, bordering on forgery and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N4,500,000.00 (Four Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira).

One of the charges read, “That you, Chinwe Odoemelam (“F”), being the director of Flourish Global Services International Limited, on or about the 8th day of September 2015 at Umuahia within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N4,500,000.00 (Four Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only, from Mr. Kalu Okorie, which money you caused to be spent on the construction of a three bedroom bungalow under the false pretence that you are contracted and authorised by the Nigerian Immigration Service to construct residential buildings for its staff at Sapele in Delta State of Nigeria, a pretence which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.

She pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, following which prosecuting counsel, Nwandu Ukoha, prayed the court for a trial date and for her to be remanded in a correctional facility in the state, while defence counsel, Mbanaso Esq., made an application for her bail.

The matter was adjourned till December 11, 2020, for hearing on the bail application, while the defendant was remanded in Umuahia Medium Correctional facility.

Odoemelam’s journey to the dock started on May 2, 2019, when the Commission received a petition, dated April 24, 2019 from one Engineer Okorie Ama Kalu, who alleged that the defendant sometime in 2015, contracted him to build two-third bedroom apartments in Sapele, Delta State, purportedly for the Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS), which will serve as its staff quarters.

According to Kalu, there was no financial mobilisation, having been agreed that payments will be made at various stages of the contract execution. He however, alleged that after commencing the job with his personal funds, the defendant ceased taking his calls and when he reached her through a telephone number she did know, she told him to count his expenses as a loss. And that she would not make any refund to him.

Investigation by the Commission revealed that no such contract was ever awarded to the defendant by the NIS, and she is not a contractor with the Service.