Court remands Rivers couple over N500m investment fraud

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A couple, Emmanuel Dike and Ugochi Eziaku Dike, has been remanded in prison custody for alleged N500 million investment scam in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The Port Harcourt’s Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the couple on Wednesday, November 29.

The couple was arraigned alongside their company, Dike & Phil Associates Ltd on five-count charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and criminal conversion of funds to personal use.

One of the charges reads: “That you Ugochi Eziaku Dike, Emmanuel Dike, Dike & Phil Associates Ltd; Kelechi Chigozirim Ahiawe (still at large), and Ampletech Integrated Services Ltd, sometime between the 24th day of August, 2020 and 15th day of February, 2021, at Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud obtained the sum of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000.00) only from one Captain Chukwuemeka Stanley Ikeri, a Nigerian citizen and his company- Clipboard Office Superstores Limited, under the pretext  that it was for investment purposes that will yield him 10% interest, which you all claimed to have the capability to deliver to him, which pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”

The couple pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to them.

In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel Dr. B. Ubi, prayed the court for a trial date, while counsel to the defendants J. C. Okeke informed the court of his application for the bail of the first and second defendants. He prayed the court to grant the defendants bail to enable them prepare for trial.

Justice Ajoku granted the defendants bail in the sum of N1 million each, with two sureties in like sum.

The judge said the sureties must be civil or public servants with the Rivers State or Federal Government of Nigeria and must be on grade level 12 and above.

The sureties must also deposit two recent passport photographs with the court registry and must be resident in Port Harcourt and have Certificate of Occupancy which must be deposited with the court.

Additionally, the sureties shall provide official letters of identification from the heads of their departments.

The court ordered the prosecution to carry out verification of sureties and within 48 hours report to the court certified true copies of letters from the heads of their departments.

The defendants were remanded in the Port Harcourt Correctional Service pending the perfection of their bail conditions.

The matter was adjourned to January 30, 2024, for commencement of trial.

According to the petitioner, sometime in July 2021, the 1st defendant, a former banker with Polaris Bank, approached him and informed him of an investment opportunity through which he will be able to get appreciable returns of 10 per cent through his Limited Liability Company, Clipboard Office Super Stores Limited.

The victim, believing the 1st defendant, paid sums of money to her as an advance based on her directives for the execution of contracts from blue chip companies and organisations.

The EFCC said investigations revealed that the defendants promised their victims a good return on investment but converted the total sum of N500 million paid to them for personal use and every effort by the victim to get a refund proved abortive.

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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