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Okonjo-Iweala hubby’s blackmailers arraigned

Posted by By Ike Nnamdi on 2007/11/08 | Views: 1436 |

Okonjo-Iweala hubby’s blackmailers arraigned

The celebrated trial of several Nigerian - Americans accused of blackmailing the husband of former Nigerian Finance Minister and World Bank Managing Director has begun in Washington.

The celebrated trial of several Nigerian - Americans accused of blackmailing the husband of former Nigerian Finance Minister and World Bank Managing Director has begun in Washington.

Ikemba Iweala, the neurosurgeon spouse of Ngozi Okonjo - Iweala, told a jury that the accused forced him to pay thousands of dollars in hush money to keep a sex tape of him out of the public.

The 59-year-old neurosurgeon, who works at the prestigious Providence Hospital, admitted he started an affair with a nurse who hailed from Nigeria, who conspired with a boyfriend to entrap him and described himself as “ a hapless victim of a scam.” According to court records, the nurse and a mysterious partner began demanding that the doctor turn over large sums of money, totaling $180,000, to keep the affair a secret from his wife.

Dr. Iweala told the jury that his “stupidity sullied his reputation and that of his family and seriously wounded his marriage.” “Things will never be the same,” a frail-looking, grey-bearded Ikemba Iweala said as he testified during the trial. “I am still married, but I feel very angry at myself. And, I have lost a lot of money.”

Sources said Iweala hoped to conceal the affair and protect his community standing in the United States and in Nigeria by paying to keep his picture out of the public.

The doctor’s former lover, Queen Nwoye, 28, on trial before U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle for blackmailing Dr. Iweala, however, insisted that she too was a victim. Testifying in her own defence, she admitted that she helped collect the money and helped her boyfriend, Adriane Osuagwu, pretend to be her cousin so he could conceal his identity. But Nwoye testified that she was powerless to resist the orders of Osuagwu, whom she described as a physically abusive, controlling man and as the scheme’s mastermind. “This is a sad case,” Nwoye’s attorney, John Iweanoge, told jurors in opening statements. “You’re going to hear evidence of adultery, no question. You’re going to hear about money going into Ms. Nwoye’s accounts.”

But, the defense attorney continued, “Ms. Nwoye was a victim too, She made the mistake of her life falling in love in the middle of a divorce with the wrong man.”

According to court papers, the story began in early 2002 when Nwoye, then a nurse in training, noticed the doctor’s name in a hospital directory. She said she recognised Iweala as a fellow Nigerian and introduced herself. They became friends, and, in September 2002, they became lovers.

The sexual relationship ended in August 2003, they both say, but their friendship continued.? Nearly three years later, in February 2006, Iweala testified, he received a surprise call from Nwoye.

She told Iweala that he must call her cousin “Ufondu” in Georgia. It was then that “Ufondu,” an alias that the nurse’s new boyfriend was using, demanded that the doctor pay $20,000 or he would tell Iweala’s wife about the affair. Within a week, the man demanded another $20,000, prosecutors said.

On March 10, 2006, Nwoye called Iweala to suggest that they meet because “she said she had not had sex in a while,” according to court papers. While the two were having sex in the parking lot in Nwoye’s car, someone approached and began taking photographs. That night, “Ufondu” called Iweala again to demand an additional $100,000, the court papers said. Iweala said the demands by “Ufondu” continued.
Authorities said Nwoye picked up some of the checks and cash and deposited the money into her and her boyfriend’s bank accounts. “There is a lot I could have done,” she told the jury.

“I really wanted something to be done, but I couldn’t help myself.” Iweala brought the case to the FBI’s attention and agreed to help authorities in the prosecution. “He felt compelled to bring the culprits to justice in order to prevent others from falling prey to a similar scheme,” said Iweala’s attorney, Vincent Cohen. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Hart-Edwards who told jurors that the case is not about getting the money back. “That’s gone,” she said.? Court officials said one unanswered question for the jury so far concerns the boyfriend, Osuagwu.

If he orchestrated this extortion plot along with the nurse, as the government alleges, where is he, and why hasn’t he been charged, too “beats me,” Nwoye’s attorney said. “I’m surprised he’s not here now, as a defendant.” Prosecutors declined to comment on why Osuagwu has not been charged. Closing arguments on the trial are scheduled for Friday.

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Comments (1)

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.