The Department of State Services (DSS) on Thursday arraigned three suspects for attempting to defraud the Ebonyi State Government of the sum of N3.6 billion (USD10,000,000.00).
One of the suspects, Precious Orji Nnachi, was a Technical Assistant to Governor David Umahi.
The trio allegedly approached Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State December 2019 claiming they were representatives of a foreign company and had $125 million to give to the State Government.
They allegedly told the Governor that the condition for the smooth receipt of the grant was if there was up to $10 million in the State Government’s United Bank Africa account.
According to Umahi, while relaying his experience with the suspects, “Something played out today. Some group of people in the past two months said they have $125 million to give us. I told my Commissioner for Finance that it doesn’t sound real. I know immediately that it was a scam but my commissioner for finance continued pushing innocently.
“Because of his belief that it is real, I told him to go ahead. They said they were investors and that they have money to give to us free of charge. They said we should bring $125 million US dollars. And out of the money, they will only take $25 million dollars to develop our place while the remaining $100million US dollars will be our own.
“I said what is my own. They can even take 50% if they want and give us even 1million dollars, since it is a grant. I told them that, if this money is flush money, Ebonyi State Government will not be held responsible. The journey began. They said that we should show evidence of $10 million dollars in our account.”
The suspects, whose names were given as Precious Orji Nnachi, Obinna Agummuo and Chuks Ajunwa, allegedly committed the offence at Umunaga village, Uburu community, in the Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state, on December 30, 2019.
They were arraigned on Thursday, at the Magistrate’s Court on six counts bothering on felony, attempt to defraud, amongst others
The Service’s Prosecutor, C.P. Njoku, told the court that the offense was punishable under sections 516A (a), 509 and 484 of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1 Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
The charge read in part, “That you Precious Orji Nnachi, Obinna Agummuo and Chuks Ajunwa, on the 30th day of December, 2019, at Umunaga Uburu in the Ohaozara Local Government Area, under the jurisdiction of Abakaliki Magisterial District, conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: Attempt to defraud and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 516A (a) of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State, of Nigeria, 2009.
“That you Precious Orji Nnachi, Obinna Agummuo and Chuks Ajunwa, on the the 30th day of December, 2019, at Umunaga Uburu in the Ohaozara LGA, under Abakaliki Magisterial District attempted to defraud the Government of Ebonyi State of the sum of Ten Million Dollars (USD10,000,000.00), amounting to Three Billion Six Hundred Million Naira (N3,600,000,000.00) through a claim which you had no intention or capacity to effect and thereby committed an offense punishable under section 509 of the Criminal Code Cap. 33., Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
“That you Precious Orji Nnachi, being a Technical Assistant to the Governor of Ebonyi State, on the 30th day of December, 2019, at Umunaga Uburu, in the Ohaozara LGA, under Abakaliki Magisterial District, corruptly attempted to obtain from the Government of Ebonyi State of the sum of Twenty Five Million Dollars (USD25,000,000.00), as a reward and thereby committed an offense contray to section 494 (1)(a) of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.”
The Chief Magistrate, Nnanna Onuoha, granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N500 million each, with three sureties in like sum.
According to her, the sureties must have properties worth N500 million and must present Certificate-of-Occupancy of the said properties, to the court.
The matter was adjourned till February 5, 2020, for hearing.