Two business men, Eze Okonkwo and Okechukwu Ariguzo, alleged to have defrauded an Indian, Mr. Yaser De Zhkam, the sum of $13,275 have been arraigned before a Federal high court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC who arraigned the two accused men alleged that they fraudulently obtained the money from the Indian on the false pretence that they would help him facilitate the registration of some Indian regulated products with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC.
According to the EFCC, the defendants committed the offence between October and November 2016 in Lagos.
They allegedly forged a NAFDAC letter head paper dated June 9, 2016 and captioned it “Notification of Product Approval,” to facilitate the alleged fraud.
The accused were also said to have forged a NAFDAC certificate of registration numbered 01-8097, falsely representing that it emanated from the office of the Director General of NAFDAC.
They were also accused of forging another letter dated October 18, 2016 and captioned it “Re: Confirmation of File Number NAFDAC/ENU/DRH, APS/092276/016 for Immediate Issuance of NAFDAC Certificate.”
According to the EFCC, they made a false representation that the letter was purportedly signed by one Mrs. Yetunde Oni, as the Executive Director of NAFDAC.
The offences alleged to have been committed by the accused are contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006 and punished under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
They were also alleged to have acted contrary to the provisions of Section 465 of the Criminal Code Act Cap 938 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and are liable to be punished under Section 467 of the same Act.
However, Okonkwo and Ariguzo, who were arraigned on five counts charge before Justice Rilwan Aikawa, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
They were subsequently admitted to bail in the sum of N1 million each with one surety each in like sum.
Justice Aikawa said the surety must either be a Lagos resident who owned a landed property or a civil servant in either the employment of the federal or state government.
Justice Aikawa also ordered that the defendants must sign an undertaking that they would not delay the trial of the case,thereafter adjourned till November 28, 2017 for trial of the accused to commence.