court

A Federal High Court judge sitting in Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital, Justice Mohammed Sanni, has remanded a suspected fraudster, Oghenekevwe Akinnawo, with aliases Rodriguez Filiberto, Richard Welburn and Scott Mendez, in prison custody.

This was a sequel to his arraignment on seven counts bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of $1.138m on Thursday.

Akinnawo was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Port Harcourt Zonal Office, on alleged fraudulent activities.

He was said to have been involved in love scam on numerous dating sites, obtaining money by false pretences and swindling two Americans, Lucille De Mattos and Patricia Hawks, on a fake oil shipment deal.

Count One of the charge read, “That you Oghenekewe Innocent Akinnawo, ( aka Rodriguez Filiberto, Richard Welburn and Scott Mendez) and Theresa Thornton (at large) sometime in February in 2018 at Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to do an unlawful act to wit: obtain money under false pretence from one Lucille De Mattos, an American citizen and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and punishable under Section 1( 3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”

The acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, in a statement on Friday said the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecuting counsel, A. Arogbha, told the court that he was ready for trial and prayed for a trial date. However, the defence counsel, Reuben Wanogho, made an application for bail but could not be heard because Arogbha told the court that he was served the application late and needed time to respond to it.

Sanni, thereafter, adjourned the matter to March 13, 2019, for the hearing of the bail application and remanded the defendant in prison custody. He also adjourned the commencement of trial to April 8 and 11, 2019.

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