A US-based businessman, George Uzoukwu, has been arrested for allegedly duping a couple N7m in a phony deal.
George, 31, was accused of obtaining N7m from a couple under false pretence on one of his visits to Lagos. The suspect lives at No. 22 Ogunlana Street, Aguda, Surulere, and was said to have deceived Mr. and Mrs. Joachim Ezirim, to invest N7m in a bogus joint venture business he claimed to have interest in.
Subsequently, the Imo State-born businessman was said to have sneaked out of Nigeria and returned to his base. His victims went in search of him but to no avail until recently when he sneaked into the country to sell all his property and was about returning to the US.
Following George’s arrest, he was on Tuesday arraigned before Mrs. Abimbola Komolafe of the Lagos Magistrates’ Court in Igbosere, on a three-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence, conversion and issuance of dud cheques.
The prosecutor, Inspector Abass Abayomi told the court that George and others at large conspired to commit the alleged offences sometime between 2011 and 2014 at No. 6, Bamgbose Street, Lagos Island.
Inspector Abayomi stated that the accused “obtained the sum of N7m from the couple under false pretences. He lied to them about forming a joint venture business with him but converted same to his personal use.
“George issued post-dated FCMB cheques No. 03002064 and 03002066 in the sum of N1 million and N2.5 million to Joachim Ezirim for the refund of the money invested in the business, knowing full well that there was no money in the account and the cheques were rejected on presentation,” the prosecutor said.
Continuing, “The offences were punishable under Sections 409, 312 and 319 (b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”
However, denying the charge, George’s lawyer, Chief M. C. Ikwunoh, urged the court to grant him bail, a request the prosecutor opposed on the grounds that the defendant had already concluded plans to leave Nigeria.
At the end, the Magistrate Komolafe granted the defendant N5 million bail with two sureties in the like sum, and adjourned the case till September 27, for mention.