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Surety slumps during interrogation in court

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There was a mild drama at the Federal High Court, Lagos, today, when a man, Ikenna Calistus Winsu, who stood surety for his brother, who is currently standing trial for alleged concealment of drug money, suddenly slumped while listening to court pronouncement remanding him in prison custody, for allegedly using fake document as bail bond for his brother.

Ikenna, who stood surety for his brother Ogbo Emmanuel Obiora collapsed when questioned on the authenticity of the tittle documents of a landed property, he used as surety to secure the bail of his brother from custody.

Winsu who admitted ownership of the passport photograph, as well the driver’s license attached to the said title document, told the court that he does not own a house in Lagos, not to talk of having a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).

“My Lord I don’t have any house in Lagos talk less of having a C of O, this is the first time I am seeing these documents, I don’t know anything about it.”

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When asked how his driver’s licence and passport photograph got into court’s file and attached to the documents as a surety, Winsu said the lawyer who was handling the matter before his death, Victor Abana, came to him and asked him to stand as surety for his brother, adding that, in the process, the lawyer collected his driver’s licence and passport photographs, noting that, that is all he gave to the late lawyer.

The court became suspicious of the document, when it was discovered that the property’s Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) was signed by a military administrator, after the administrator was no more in power.

But Justice Ayokunle Faji while remanding the suspect in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), directed the NDLEA prosecutor, Abu Ibrahim, to write the office of the Attorney-General for in depth investigation and DPP’s advise.

The court also mandated the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Lagos to verify the genuineness of the title documents and send their findings to the Attorney-General office for legal advise.

The trial judge thereafter adjourned the matter till November 11th for the sentencing of the two convicts.

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It would be recalled that Ozor Ikenna and Ogbo Emmanuel Obiora, were arraigned for allegedly concealing the sum of $162,883.740, proceed of drugs.

They were accused of knowing fully well that the said money directly or indirectly represents the proceeds of a criminal conduct.

They were also accused of concealing of the sum of $34,000, which they knew to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

Ogbo was alleged to have on February 2014 October 2015 collaborated with one Chinedu (now at large) to conceal or ‘nesting’ the sum of N128, 883, 740 million, in his Diamond Bank personal savings account, No. 0042824083, the sum which was resources derived directly or indirectly from illicit traffic in narcotic drugs.

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The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, contravened sections Section 18(a) and punishable under Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act,
2011 (as amended).

Parts of the charges read: “that you Ozoh Ikenna Male, Adult, on or about the 9th, September 2015 during the outward clearance of Etihad Airline flight to Brazil at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos concealed the sum of $34,000 (Thirty-Four Thousand United States Dollars) knowing that the said money is a proceed of a criminal conduct and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 16(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).

“That you Ozoh Ikenna, Male, Adult, on or about the 9th September 2015 during the outward clearance of Etihad Airline flight to Brazil at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos failed to declare to the Nigerian Customs Service the sum of $34, 000 (Thirty-Four Thousand United States Dollars) in your possession and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).

“That you Ogbo Emmanuel Obiora, Male, Adult between the period of February 2014 October 2015 collaborated with one Chinedu (now at large) in concealing or ‘nesting’ the sum of N128, 883, 740. 00 (One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Million, Eight Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Naira only) in your Diamond Bank personal savings Account No. 0042824083 being resources derived directly or indirectly from illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 15(1)(b) of the Money Laundering |(Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).”

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