The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has asked citizens indicted in the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) probe to voluntarily turn themselves in or risk being extradited to the US.
TheCable had reported how the FBI listed at least 77 Nigerians in what it described as one of the largest fraud cases in US history.
Nick Hanna, a US attorney, had said investigations which began since 2016 showed that the suspects colluded with federal and state agents to dupe unsuspecting victims of their money.
In a statement issued on Friday, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman of the commission, said while those fingered are still innocent until proven guilty, they should voluntarily turn themselves in to the US authorities to clear their names.
“We acknowledge the fact that accusation does not mean guilt, and we hope that all the accused will be given fair and speedy trial,” it said.
“We also ask those accused in Nigeria to voluntarily turn themselves in to American authorities to clear their names without which the Nigerian government should extradite them if relevant international treaties between the two governments are invoked.
“While such actions ultimately have negative effect on the image of the country, the commission, however, reiterates as it has always done, that the actions of a few Nigerians involved in criminal activities is not and can never be what the majority of Nigerians represent.”
The commission added that it would continue to monitor the developments closely. (The Cable)
Usman Adamu, the Nigerien Man that made headlines after hanging on to the wing of an Azman aircraft that was preparing to take off from Lagos to Port Harcourt, has been deported to his country, Niger.
The Nigerien at the center of the July 19 stowaway incident at the restricted area of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), was found to be mentally imbalanced after he was interrogated, profiled and subjected to psychiatric tests by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). Usman was deported by road on Friday August 16, through Lagos.
“Immediately he was arrested at the airport, by security agencies, he was interrogated and asked series of questions, and later taken to the psychiatric hospital for a test. It was at the hospital that it was confirmed that he had a mental challenge.
“But despite that, he was still kept in detention for another round of questioning, which didn’t produce any meaningful result. So, he was handed over to us and as the law required, we returned him to his country” an Immigration source told Sahara Reporters.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has suspended all leaves and travels for all workers of the ministry because of the urgent need to get the budget ready on time.
The minister, who assumed office after being sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the immediate need was to work out a budget for the Ministry in the next two weeks, urging all the agencies and departments of the Ministry to work closely with the Permanent Secretary to achieve the feat, adding that the budget remained the article of faith between the government and the governed.
One of the first things we have to do is to quickly work out the budget for the Ministry of Works and Housing and we have to do that in the next two weeks, he said, adding that because the budget was the article of faith in governance, all agencies and departments of the Ministry must work together to produce a budget worthy of note by the Ministry.
Pointing out that the leadership of the National Assembly has expressed commitment to conduct all the budget defenses in the month of October, Fashola said in order to ensure that this was achieved and all documents were made ready for the defence, all leaves, travels and other less compelling engagements must be put aside for now.
He called for readiness among the staff of the Ministry in order to achieve the mandate of the Federal Government for economic growth and development as well as job creation in the country, expressing his resolve to provide the needed leadership.
There is still a lot of work ahead of us in spite of what we have done before and I offer myself ready and willing to do my part by providing leadership and I trust that all of you are ready as well. The mandate of Mr. President is very clear and it derives from his mandate to the people of Nigeria.
And if you watched the Swearing-in ceremony today and listened to his speech, he wants us to be his eyes and ears and his agents to serve all the people of Nigeria and that is what we must set out to achieve, Fashola said pointing out that the President was unequivocal on the urgent need to stabilize the economy.
According to the Minister, the president was clear about the need to sustain the growth already experienced in the economy, adding, The economy has grown from recession and out of recession and it has grown for consecutive eight quarters. But we need to double that growth and even multiply it , but that will depend on how we work this time. The central purpose is to create prosperity and to create jobs and I think this is possible.
He stressed the need for the nations professionals to be more committed and dedicated to the service of the country pointing out that the fortunes of every nation was determined by how their professionals engage in national service.
I have read several comments on the above subject matter. I am amazed at the level of passion this pronouncement has generated. The internet is a great thing.
But while it brings news from every and all quarters, it also exposes ignorance from all nooks and crannies of the society.
The capacity to issue statements and posts on the internet in copious volumes help create the impression that those who write or criticise on the internet also have understanding. Yet, to be literate is not the same as being knowledgeable.
Ministers are constitutional aides of Mr President in their respective ministries. Whereas the Chief of staff is a trusted personal aide of the President and the supreme head of the administration in the Presidency.
His responsibilities include hour by hour and day to day administration of the villa and every detail of the programmes of the President. This sacred job is done exclusively by the COS or any one designated to do it on his behalf.
The office of the President is the highest office in the country and it must have strict even though elastic schedules to accommodate emergencies.
It will easily be understood that for the integrity of the schedules of Mr President , which may include diplomatic, foreign missions, organisations, institutions, bilateral talks,visitations by other heads of states, conferences and other special events, very important domestic affairs, it therfore becomes imperative that only the office of the chief of staff is designated to handle all presidential appointments to avoid confusion and shoddiness at the highest office in the land.
Any minister who is desirous of seeing the President must of necessity pass through the only official channel which supretends over schedules and appointments of Mr President.
A minister who does not know the scheduled programmes of the President for the day cannot just impose his presence on the office of the president to disrupt the plans and protocols for the day or unnecessarily divert the attention of Mr President and cause him to delay other previously planned schedules with similarly important dignitaries.
Personally I have witnessed this shameful embarrassments in the past just because we failed to go by laid down procedures. This is often too common with us politicians who considers the President as a colleague or personal friend or associate of long standing, with whom there should not be any bureaucratic barriers even in spite of his new exalted office as the head of state.
However, for the Presidency to run efficiently with a dignified administrative regime, a stratified arrangement of protocol need to be put in place and applied to those who need to see the president officially.
May be the President needed not to have announced it publicly. A simple memo from the office of the chief of staff , written clearly as a directive from Mr President would have sufficed.I have served in the Presidency twice and I hold the above views sacrosanct.
*Written By Doyin Okupe
Professor Joshua Obaleye of the Department of Chemistry, University of Ilorin has announced the discovery of anti-malaria, anti-cancer and anti-tuberculosis drugs by a team led by him.
He said the drugs can be mass-produced to save lives.
Obaleye told newsmen in Ilorin that the team had tested numerous world-class metal compounds from his laboratory for the treatment of various diseases.
According to him, studies show that when a metal is attached with a pharmaceutical, it increases the efficacy of the drug.
But the don, who is also the President, America Chemical Society, Nigeria Chapter, and Chairman, Nigeria Chemical Society, Kwara State Chapter, said he lacked funds to commercialize the drugs.
According to the professor, he has also produced anti-inflammatory drugs and vitamins.
He said:“We need to commercialize all these drugs and invite the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and other regulatory bodies to come over to examine what we have produced to confirm if what we say we have is what we have.
“When they investigate us and find out what we say is authentic, maybe they will be happy to help us.
“We have produced metal anti-tuberculosis, metal anti-malaria, metal antibiotics and many more. We have produced a lot of them in this lab.
“Most of these drugs we have produced in our lab have other applications; even structural studies of them is enough. We can even use them as raw materials for other drugs.”
Obaleye called for effective collaboration among researchers in
the same discipline as well as interdisciplinary collaboration in order to come out with
He said that collaboration had given him great opportunities to come up with groundbreaking researches.
“We are making a lot of achievements, we have many collaborators from India, we have collaborators in Malaysia, Japan and so many other countries.
“We work with people we know are experts in those areas; if you don’t collaborate, you just be a local champion without any progress,” he said. (The Nation)
A yet-to-be-identified commercial motorcyclist popularly called ‘Okada rider’ on Thursday allegedly raped a middle-aged woman, Mrs Bukola Olarewaju to death in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
The suspect was alleged to have broken into the woman’s room located at Olorunda area of the state capital with a cutlass forcibly to perpetuate the dastard act.
Olanrewaju, mother of three was allegedly raped and strangulated by the suspect identified as her tenant.
The suspect who was a tenant to the deceased had fled after allegedly committed the nefarious act.
A resident of the area, who craved anonymity, revealed that the woman was said to have been raped around 11 am when her husband had gone to work and children were away at a coaching centre
The source said the corpse of the woman was seen in the room while her two hands were tied by the assailant before she was forcefully raped.
“Her two hands were bound while her pant was down which confirmed that he was raped”.
The source also fingered the fleeing tenant as being allegedly responsible for the murder.
When contacted, the police public Relations Officer Caleb Ikechukwu confirmed the incident, saying the suspect after raping the woman strangulate her to death.
He said medical examination conducted on the deceased at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) confirmed that she was raped before being strangled to death by her assailant.
“Medical examination confirmed the above but we have not been able to ascertain who actually committed the crime and what actually led to that.
“Apart from this, we saw condom and semen within the scene where the crime was committed, which also substantiated the fact she was actually raped.
“We were told that a man, who was a neighbour actually did it and fled. We are yet to arrest the man but proper security arrangements have been made that would ensure speedy arrest of the suspect”.
Ikechukwu said the deceased’s husband had deposited the corpse at EKSUTH morgue while investigation is ongoing on the matter. (The Nation)
The Board of Directors of Zenith Bank Plc has approved the appointment of Mr. Henry Oroh as Executive Director of the bank. The appointment is consistent with the bank’s tradition and succession strategy of grooming leaders from within.
Also, the Board has approved the appointment of Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, FCA, as an Independent Non-Executive Director.
Both appointments are effective September 1, 2019, and have been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Henry Oroh holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Benin, Edo State and an MBA from the Lagos State University as well as an LLB Degree from the University of Lagos. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN), Nigeria.
He has over two decades of banking experience. He began his banking career in 1992 at Citibank where he served for seven (7) years in Operations, Treasury and Marketing.
He joined Zenith Bank in February 1999 and has worked in various Groups and Departments within the Zenith Group Office. His expertise spans Operations, Information Technology, Treasury, Marketing, including the Manufacturing, Food and Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, Oil and Gas, Public Sector, Consumer, as well as Corporate Banking and Business Development.
In April 2012, he was seconded to Zenith Bank Ghana Limited as an Executive Director and became the Managing Director/ Chief Executive in February 2016, where he successfully spearheaded the phenomenal growth of the Zenith Brand both within the Ghana market and the West African sub-region.
Henry has attended several Leadership Programmes and Executive Management Courses at the Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, New York, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, HEC Paris, JP Morgan Chase, UK and the Lagos Business School.
He comes to the Board of Zenith Bank Plc with strong competencies in Credit & Marketing, Operations, Information Technology, Treasury and impressive Leadership skills.
Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar is currently the Managing Director of Apt Pensions Funds Managers Limited.
He is a graduate of the Leeds Polytechnic, UK. He is a renowned Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.
Dr. Abubakar has extensive and tremendous experience in the financial services industry, audit and consulting. He worked with the firm of Akintola Williams Deloitte between January 2000 and November 2008, and rose to become the Partner and Board Member of West Africa sub-region. Prior to this, he had served on the Board of several financial institutions in Nigeria.
He has attended several management and leadership training programmes and conferences both within and outside the country.
He brings to the Board of the bank tremendous track record in Risk Management, Credit & Marketing, Auditing and very outstanding leadership skills.
Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced that its 2019 FirstBank Agric Expo would hold on Friday, 30 August 2019 at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos. The 2019 edition – the third in the series – is themed “Agricultural Value Chain – Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Risks” would have Professor Benedict Oramah, President of AFREXIM Bank as the Keynote Speaker.
The annual FirstBank Agric Expo, launched in 2017 provides the lead in national discourse on sustainable agriculture value-chain as a substantial source of Nigeria’s economic development, improved contribution to her balance of trade as well as foreign exchange.The 2019 edition would host over 600 delegates and over 60 exhibitors to display the latest technology in farm equipment, tools and machineries as well as packaged finished agricultural produce, logistics and supply, thereby keeping the participants and sundry agribusiness practitioners abreast with new opportunities in the Agricultural industry.
Besides the plenary session, the expo will feature three (3) Masterclasses with in-depth analysis on specific areas of Agribusiness, facilitated by enterprising Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The Masterclass facilitators include Mr. Leonard Anyanwu, Group Executive Director, Saro International Limited; Mr Segun Ogunwale, Team Lead, Kominity Digital and Mr Bamidele Ayemibo Managing Director, 3T Impex Trade Centre, who will provide insight as well as share success stories and experiences.
Expressing his delight on FirstBank’s leading role at not just promoting Agriculture but diversifying the Nigerian economy, the CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan said ”in the last 125 years, more than any other financial institution, we have played a key role in financing different sectors of not just the Nigerian economy but other economies in sub-Saharan Africa. As Nigeria expands opportunities in its non-oil sector – especially Agriculture – we remain committed to the growth of the agricultural sector and its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.”
“Our consistency in convening the FirstBank Agric Expo, which is in its third consecutive edition, is a demonstration of our commitment to building the agribusiness economy which is capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, generating exports, supporting sustainable income and creating employment opportunities”, he concluded
The indictment was unsealed after law enforcement authorities, led by the FBI, Thursday morning arrested 14 defendants across the United States, with 11 of those arrests taking place in the Los Angeles region.
Two defendants were already in federal custody on other charges, and one was arrested earlier this week. The remaining defendants are believed to be abroad, with most of them located in Nigeria.
The indictment alleges that the defendants and others used various online fraud schemes – including business email compromise (BEC) frauds, romance scams, and schemes targeting the elderly – to defraud victims out of millions of dollars.
According to a criminal complaint also unsealed Thursday, co-conspirators based in Nigeria, the United States and other countries contacted the lead defendants in the indictment – Valentine Iro, 31, of Carson, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, of Gardena, both Nigerian citizens – for bank and money-service accounts that could receive funds fraudulently obtained from victims.
Once members of the conspiracy convinced victims to send money under false pretences, Messrs Iro and Igbokwe coordinated the receipt of funds and oversaw an extensive money-laundering network, according to the 145-page indictment.
Below is a full list of the defendants named in the indictment.
1. VALENTINE IRO, aka “Iro Enterprises,” aka “Valentine Obinna Iro ,” aka ” Obinna Iro ,” 16 aka ” Obinna Nassa,”
2. CHUKWUDI CHRI STOGUNUS IGBOKWE, aka ” Christogunus C. Igbokwe,” aka ” Chris Kudon ,” aka “Atete ,” aka “Still Kudon ,”
3. JERRY ELO IKOGHO , aka “J Man,”
4. IZUCHUKWU KINGSLEY UMEJESI, aka ” Kingsley Umejesi, ” aka “Armeni an Man,” aka “Kingsley LA,” aka “I zuking Aka Aku ,”
5. ADEGOKE MOSES OGUNGBE , aka “P & P Motors,” aka “Pp, ”
6. ALBERT LEWIS CATHEY, aka “Alb, ” aka “Abert Jag,” aka “Al,”
7. TITYAYE MARINA MANSBANGURA, aka “Tityaye Igbokwe ,” aka “Marina Mansour,” aka “Marina Mansaray,” aka “Marina Tityaye Mans Bangura,”
8. CHUKWUDI COLLINS AJAEZE, aka “Thank You Jesus”
9. EKENE AUGUSTINE EKECHUKWU, aka “Ogedi Power,” aka “Power,”
10. CHUKS EROHA, aka “Chuks Nassa Iro,” aka “Nassa,” aka “Prince Chuddy,” aka “Nurse Chuddy,”
11. COLLINS NNAEMEKA OJIMBA, aka “Collins Emeka Ojimba,” aka “Ojimba Collins,” aka “Charly.Africa,”
12. FNU LNU, aka “Xplora G,”
13. UCHENNA OCHIAGHA, aka “Urch Agu,” aka “Advanced Mega Plus Ltd,”
14. NNAMDI THEOJOSEPH DURU, aka “Duru Theo Joseph Nnamdi,” aka “Williams High School,” aka “Ifytyns,”
15. ERICSON UCHE OFORKA, aka “Oforka,” aka “Eric Oforka,”
16. MARK IFEANYI CHUKWUOCHA, aka “Mark Iheanyi Chukwuocha,” aka “Chukwu Mark,” aka “Markife,”
17. AUGUSTINE NNAMDI, aka “Nnamdi Augustine,” aka “Jazz,”
18. CHIEMEZIE CHRISTOPHER CHILAKA, aka “Fanta,”
19. CHARLES OHAJIMKPO, aka “Giggs,” aka “Ryan Giggs,” aka “Charles,”
20. STANLEY UGOCHUKWU UCHE, aka “Ugo Law,” aka “Uche Stanley,” aka “He is risen.Happy Easter!,”
21. CHIKA AUGUSTINE ODIONYENMA, aka “Tony Augustin Odionyenma,” aka “Chika Tony,” aka “CTA Finance Source Intl,”
22. PASCHAL CHIMA OGBONNA, aka “Chima,” aka “Paschal,”
23. SAMUEL NNAMDI ONWUASOANYA, aka “Sammy Lee Nnamdi,” aka “Onwuasoanya Samuel Nnamdi,” aka “Enugu Ogo,”
24. MACWILLIAM CHINONSO CHUKWUOCHA, aka “ChiBoy,”
25. EMMANUEL ONYEKA UZOKA, aka “Emmanuel Mansion,” aka “Mansion,” aka “Son of God,” aka “Ezirim Uzoma,”
26. JOSHUA ANIEFIOK AWAK, aka “Joe Awk,” aka “Kwee Tin Law,”
27. GEORGE UGOCHUKWU EGWUMBA, aka “George Ugo,” aka “Ugo Aunty Scholar,”
28. UCHECHUKWU SOLOMON EZIRIM, aka “Uche Nwanne,” aka “Uche Ezirim,”
29. AUGUSTINE IFEANYI OKAFOR, aka “Zero,” aka “St.Austine,” aka “Austine,” aka “Ifeanyichukwu Okafor,”
30. FNU LNU, aka “Okay Sam Mal,” LESLIE N. MBA, aka “Mystical,” aka “Nwachinemere Leslie,”
31. OGOCHUKWU INNOCENT IKEWESI, aka “Ogoo UK,” aka “Innocent Ikewesi,”
32. EMMANUEL UZOMA OGANDU, aka “Nwachinaemere,” aka “Uzoma,”
33. AMARACHUKWU HARLEY ANYANWU, aka “GodisGod,” aka “War B,”
34. BRIGHT IFEANYI AZUBUIKE, aka “Bright Bauer Azubuike,” aka “Ifeanyi Jnr,”
35. EMEKA MOSES NWACHUKWU, aka “All Man,” aka “Omalitoto,” FNU LNU, aka “Donatus Izunwanne,” aka “Izunwanne Donatus Chibuikem,” aka “Deworlddonmax,”
36. CHINWENDU KENNETH OSUJI, aka “Father,”
37. EUSEBIUS UGOCHUKWU ONYEKA, aka “Ugo UK,” aka “sly19 sly,”
38. CHIDI ANUNOBI, aka “Anunobi Chidi,” aka “Chidioo,”
39. ANTHONY NWABUNWANNE OKOLO, aka “Eric West,” aka “Erci West,” aka “Code,”
40. OBINNA CHRISTIAN ONUWA, aka “Papa Chukwuezugo,” aka “Obinna Onuwa Abala,” aka “Obyno Abala,”
41. CHIJIOKE CHUKWUMA ISAMADE, aka “Mr CJ,” aka “CJ,”
42. LINUS NNAMDI MADUFOR, aka “Madufor Nnamdi,”
43. CHRYSAUGONUS NNEBEDUM, aka “Cris,”
44. UGOCHUKWU OKEREKE, aka “Blade,” aka “Kingsly Cris,” aka “Okereke Ugochukwu,”
45. FIDEL LEON ODIMARA, aka “Fiedel Odimara,” aka “Ndaa,” aka “Dee Dutchman,”
46. KINGSLEY CHINEDU ONUDOROGU, aka “OBJ,”
47. DESSI NZENWAH, aka “Desmond Sage,” aka “Des Nzenwa,” aka “Saga Lounge,”
48. CHIMAROKE OBASI, aka “Chima Russia”
49. JAMES CHIGOZIE AGUBE, aka “Smart,” aka “Smart Agube,” aka “Smart Chigozie Agube”
50. CHIMAOBI UZOZIE OKORIE, aka “Omaobi,” aka “Mobility,”
51. OGOCHUKWU OHIRI, aka “Ogomegbulam Ohiri,” aka “Ologbo,”
52. KENNEDY CHIBUEZE UGWU, aka “Kennedy David,”
53. IFEANYICHUKWU OLUWADAMILARE AGWUEGBO, aka “B$$ IFF¥,”
54. VICTOR IFEANYI CHUKWU, aka “Ifeannyi Soccer,” aka “Vic Chux,”
55. CHIDI EMMANUEL MEGWA, aka “Cantr,” aka “Canta Jr.,”
56. PRINCEWILL ARINZE DURU, aka “Arnzi Prince Will,” aka “Arinze,”
57. DESMOND IWU, aka “Desmond Chigozie Iwu,” aka “Lalaw,” aka “Odo Desmond,”
58. ONYEKA VINCENT CHIKA, aka “Chyco,” aka “Chika Ejima,” aka “Vincent Chika Onyeka,”
59. IFEANYI KINGSLEY MEZIENWA, aka “Ifeanyi Ali,” aka “Ifeanyichukwu Mezienwa,”
60. VICTOR UCHENNA AGUH, aka “Orch Sod,” aka “Uche SP,” aka “Rich Homie Urch,”
61. KEVIN AMARACHI ESHIMBU, aka “Humble,” aka “Humble Amarachukwu,” aka “Dato Humble,”
62. VITALIS KELECHI ANOZIE, aka “Kelechi Vitalis Anozie,” aka “Kelechi Anozieh,” aka “Pastor Kel Anozie,” aka “Pastor Kc,” aka “Choice,”
63. WILLIAMS OBIORA AGUNWA, aka “Don Williams,”
64. GEORGE CHIMEZIE DIKE, aka “Chimekros,” aka “Slim Dad…No…1,”
65. MUNACHISO KYRIAN UKACHUKWU, aka “Muna,”
66. NWANNEBUIKE OSMUND, aka “Osmund Nwannebuike,” aka “Olivite,” aka “Nikky Bro.,”
67. CHIDIEBERE FRANKLIN NWANGWU, aka “Frank Chidi,” aka “Franklin Nwangwu,” aka “Agogo,”
68. DAMIAN UCHECHUKWU AJAH, aka “Uche Ajah,” aka “Ajah Damian Uchechukwu,” aka “Uchechukwu Demian Ajah,”
69. EMEKA P. EJIOFOR, aka “Ejiofor Emeka,”
70. LAWRENCE CHUKWUMA UBASINEKE, aka “Ubasineke Chuks,” aka “Chukwuma Ubasineke,”
71. CHINEDU BRIGHT IBETO, aka “Doggy,” aka “Doggy Lucino,”
72. VALENTINE AMARACHI NWANEGWO, aka “Satis,” aka “Satis Amarachi Satis,”
73. EMMANUEL CHIDIEBERE DIKE, aka “Emmanet,”
74. JEREMIAH UTIEYIN EKI, aka “Uti,” CHINAKA DAVIDSON IWUOHA, aka “Tmrw Afrika Will Wake Up,” aka “Cookie,” aka “All Africa Media Network,”
75. CHIMA DARLINGTON DURU, aka “Kajad,” aka “Kajad Jesus,”
76. IKENNA CHRISTIAN IHEJIUREME, aka “Piper,” aka “Am Happy!,”
77. OBI ONYEDIKA MADEKWE, aka “Odu Investment,”
Obinwanne Okeke, the Abuja-based businessman arrested earlier this month for Internet fraud in the United States, has hired a new lawyer to help fight off the criminal charges levelled against him by American authorities.
Mr Okeke hired John Iweanoge, a Washington D.C.-based attorney of Nigerian origin, to take over from Rahul Sharma, a public defender, PREMIUM TIMES learnt from court documents.
Mr Sharma was appointed by a judge to stand as counsel to Mr Okeke because the suspect did not appear with a defence lawyer at his initial hearing on August 9.
Mr Iweanoge notified the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia later in the day on August 9 that he was stepping in to replace Mr Sharma as Mr Okeke’s lead counsel. He also said he had the suspect’s consent to represent him in the trial.
Mr Iweanoge, lead attorney at The Iweanoges Firm, has been practicing law the U.S. since 1993, according to the firm’s website. He has been running the law firm apparently with his family members.
In 2007, he was publicly reprimanded by the disciplinary board of Maryland Bar for misconduct. He protested the sanction in court and lost.
Mr Okeke, known widely in Nigeria as Invictus Obi, was remanded in custody of the U.S. Marshall Service indefinitely after his initial appearance before Theresa Buchanan, a magistrate. He had been arrested days before on August 6 in Dulles, Virginia, based on a criminal complaint filed against him by the F.B.I.
The foremost American law enforcement body had in June 2018 received complaints from Unatrac, an international subsidiary of heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, that Mr Okeke gained unauthorised access to the e-mail account of its chief financial officer and authorised a series of fictitious invoices to the tune of $11 million.
The F.B.I. also found that Mr Okeke had duped an American show manufacturer as part of a business email compromise (BEC) schemes that Mr Okeke and other accomplices had coordinated.
The grim options
Mr Stueve told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Okeke had been presented with some options that would be decided in the coming days, even though no judge had been appointed to try the case proper.
“Since he was arrested on a criminal complaint, it means he could be held in custody pending trial,” Mr Stueve said by telephone Thursday night. “At this point, he will either plead guilty or the U.S. will present the matter to a grand jury.”
“The jury will decide whether to return indictment or not. If they decide to return indictment, he will be presented before a judge to enter a plea. If he pleads guilty, he would be sentenced. If he pleads not guilty, then a trial date will be set,” the official added.
He also told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Okeke had been moved from Alexandria to Norfolk, Virginia, where he would likely make his next appearance in court upon determination of a date.
“His initial appearance was in Alexandria, but his next appearance will be in Norfolk,” Mr Stueve said. (Premium Times)