Enugu lawyer Mike Ikegbunam docked over alleged N91m land fraud
EFCC docks Enugu lawyer Mike Ikegbunam for allegedly duping members of the SSAUTHRIAI of N91 million in a land deal.
Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun
A lawyer based in Enugu, Barrister Mike Ikegbunam has been arraigned for duping members of the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi Branch of N91 million in a land deal.
Members of SSAUTHRIAI had allegedly paid N91 million to Ikegbunam for the purchase of 130 plots of land at Umuagu, Ozu Ndiukwuanu Town, in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, but he failed to deliver the land or the money.
EFCC said its investigations revealed that the lawyer who has refunded N10 million to the university workers used N16.5 million suspected to be part of the money to acquire three plots of land for himself at Dubai Estate, Phase 2 in Awka, Anambra State.
Ikegbunam who was first arrested by the operatives of the Enugu office of EFCC in June 2023 was arraigned before Justice Mohammed Garba Umar of the Federal High Court sitting in Independence Layout, Enugu State on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N91 million on Wednesday.
He pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to him.”
In view of his plea, Counsel to the EFCC, Nuradeen Shehu Ingawa prayed the court for a trial date and for the defendant to be remanded at the Correctional Centre. The defence counsel, A. G. Anyigo prayed the court to admit his client to bail adding that “the defendant is a very responsible personality in the society”.
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Responding, Ingawa vehemently opposed the bail application based on the gravity of the offence and urged the court to dismiss the bail application.
In his ruling, Justice Umar granted the defendant bail on self-recognizance of being a legal practitioner on the following conditions: That the defendant must deposit his Call to Bar Certificate with the court and make available one surety, who must be his cousin.
The defendant was remanded at the EFCC custody pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.
The judge adjourned the matter to March 21, 2024 for trial.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Mike Ikegbunam on 16th August, 2022 in Umuagu Ozu Village, Anambra State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria with intent to defraud, induced the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions of Nigeria to deliver to you, the sum of N25,000,000.00 (Twenty-Five Million naira) under the pretence that you are capable of acquiring some portions of land for their members at Umuagu Ndiukwuanu Town in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.