A Nigerian lawyer, Utibe Hanson Inem, has been dragged to court.
He was arraigned on Tuesday by the Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly issuing a dud cheque and stealing by fraudulent conversion to the tune of N10,000,000 (Ten million naira).
The accused was arraigned before Justice Bassey Nkanang of the State High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on two counts bordering on fraud, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC Head of Media & Publicity, said in a statement on Tuesday.
One of the counts reads: “Utibe Hanson Inem “M” sometime in April 2021 in Uyo, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, fraudulently converted to your own use the sum of Ten Million Naira (N10, 000,000.00) belonging to one Uduak Akpan Jacob, being the said Uduak Akpan Jacob’s share, from proceeds from the sale of 3 bedroom bungalow located at Osongama Estate.”
According to the statement, the offence is contrary to Section 392 (1) and punishable under Section 399 of the Criminal Code CAP 38 Vol. II Laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria 2000.
The lawyer pleaded “not guilty” when the charge was read to him.
Following his plea, Adanna Nnamani, counsel for the anti-graft agency asked the court for a trial date and for the defendant to be remanded at the Uyo correctional facility.
The defence counsel, C. N. Nweke Junior, informed the court about his client’s application for bail which was filed on January 17, 2023. He also urged the court to admit the defendant to bail in the most liberal terms.
The court granted the defendant bail in the sum of three million naira (N3 million) with a surety in like sum.
The surety shall deposit in court any documented proof of the ownership of a landed property within Uyo, the statement also said.
The court thereafter adjourned the matter till April 4, 2023 for commencement of trial while the defendant was remanded in the correctional facility in Uyo.
According to the EFCC, the Commission received a petition from one Uduak Jacob who alleged that the defendant connived with his ex-wife to sell his landed property.
Upon learning about the transaction, the defendant issued him a cheque of N10 million as his share of the proceeds and convinced him to sign the Power of Attorney for the sale of the property.
The cheque, when presented in the bank, was returned unpaid as the account was not funded.