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$242m scam: Nwude, Okoli jailed 37 years

Posted by By Wahab Abdulah, Gabriel Onyeaku & Faith Ifediora on 2005/11/19 | Views: 962 |

$242m scam: Nwude, Okoli jailed 37 years


Two of the three suspects charged for defrauding a Brazilian Bank of 242 million dollars said to be the biggest scam in history, Chiefs Emmanuel Nwude and Nzeribe Okoli were yesterday sentenced to a combined prison term of 37 years.

Two of the three suspects charged for defrauding a Brazilian Bank of 242 million dollars said to be the biggest scam in history, Chiefs Emmanuel Nwude and Nzeribe Okoli were yesterday sentenced to a combined prison term of 37 years.

They are also to forfeit 110 million dollars to the Brazilian bank and pay 11.5 million dollars to the Federal Government. Chief Nwude bagged 25 years while Okoli will spend the next 12 years behind bars. The third accused person, Mrs Amaka Anajemba had avoided trial by pleading guilty to the amended charges and was immediately sentenced to 30 years imprisonment in July this year.

The duo were found guilty on all the 11 offences they were charged with. The terms are to run concurrently. The convicts changed their plea to guilty after initially pleading not guilty. They impressed the trial judge who commended them in his judgement.

Chief Nwude, Mrs Amaka Anajemba and Chief Okoli alongside their four companies were arraigned before an Abuja High Court in 2004 for swindling a Brazilian bank, Banko Noroeste S.A. of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Later, the Abuja High Court rejected the case on the ground that it had no jurisdiction before it was transferred to Lagos High Court presided by Justice Joseph Oyewole. The matter dragged for over one year with various applications filed by the accused persons to frustrate the trial.

Delivering judgement, Justice Oyewole convicted them and their companies. They are also to forfeit their property, including houses and vehicles. Justice Oyewole in his judgement held: “ I have duly considered the submissions of counsel and I must commend the candour, wit and erudition displayed. This is in line with the best tradition at the bar. In imposing sentence on the accused persons, the court has noted the fact that in changing their pleas, valuable time and resources are being saved and is evidence of remorse and common sense, a point appreciated by the prosecution as reflected in the present amended charges.

"A balance must however be arrived at by the court in ensuring that not only is the financial element which induces and motivates this class of offences is taken care of, but also impose sanctions that would signpost to society that crime does not pay and that certain conducts are simply not acceptable.
It is indeed sad that the activities of the accused persons not only led to the collapse of a bank in a foreign country but also brought miseries to many innocent people.”

He subsequently read his sentences attached to each charge.
The principal victim of the fraud, Mr. Nelson Sakagushi, a director of the Brazilian bank who was in Nigeria in an attempt to give evidence in the case expressed satisfaction with the way the case was concluded by the court. He said “ I never doubted the integrity of the court in Nigeria and I am happy that justice was done in the case.”

Also, counsel in the case, including that of the defence Mr Ricky Tarfa, (SAN), hailed the court sentence, stating that “it’s a well written judgement.”
In his allocutos to the court, Tarfa, said his client was a first offender , who has no criminal records and that he was sick while having children and aged parents. He urged the court to temper justice with mercies in its sentence.

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Comments (2)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown