The Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, yesterday 20th July 2020 arraigned Mrs Nkechi Mercy Ikogwe and her company and affiliates Elites Finance Investment Limited and Efinc Global Investment Limited, before Justice E. A. Obile of the Federal High Court sitting in the capital city of Rivers State on three counts charge of Conspiracy and Obtaining Money by False Pretence, contrary to the Section 1 (1 a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Related Offences Act No. 14 2006, which is punishable by stipulations of the Section 1 (3) of the same Act. The defence counsel pleaded not guilty to the charges read before the court and Justice Obile asked that the first defendant, Mrs Ikogwe, be remanded in the custody of the EFCC and adjourned the matter to 19th October 2020 to enable the court hear the bail application of the defence counsel.
Ikogwe ran into trouble when the EFCC received a report about her and two others, accusing them of misleading their victims into participating in a fraudulent investment scheme with a fake promise of 15 percent return on their investments.
In a press statement yesterday, the EFCC said on their website:
“One of the counts read: “That you Nkechi Mercy Ikogwe, Elites Finance Investment Limited and Efinc Global Investment Limited sometime in 2019 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honorable court with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of One Hundred and Seventy Nine Million, Three Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Six Naira,Sixty Two Kobo (179,326,386.62) by inducing unsuspecting members of the public to invest with your companies:Elites Finance Investment Limited and Efinc Global Investment Limited, assuring them under a false pretence of making 15% interest on all investment made, a representation you knew to be false, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.
“In view of the plea by the defendants, prosecuting counsel, K. W Chukwuma-Eneh prayed the court to fix a date for commencement of trial.
“But counsel to the defendants, G. N Godwins moved an oral application for the bail of the defendants which was opposed by the prosecution on the ground that the application must be in writing, and properly addressed to the court.
“Justice Obile ordered that the 1st defendant be remanded in prosecution’s custody and adjourned the matter till October 19,2020 for determination of the bail application.
“Over Fifteen Million Naira (N15,000,000.00) was paid by the unsuspecting ‘investors’ into the defendant’s accounts, Nkechi Mercy Ikogwe with account numbers 2087478165 domiciled in Zenith Bank and Miss Joy Okari Ibiala 2099253758 domiciled in UBA.
“Further investigation revealed that the defendant spent a total sum of N139,704,097 collected from subscribers to play sport betting and also paid tithe of N1m to a leading Pentecostal church in Port Harcourt.””””””
Nigerians have been misled many times into investment schemes that appear on the surface as reliable and viable, but becomes complicated and deceptive in the long run. Many of such investment schemes do not have the capital or legal prerequisite for the services they claim to be offering, and falter along the way. Most of these investment platforms are fraudulent, with fake objectives and structures.
Despite this, these fake investors still manage to hoodwink unsuspecting victims into their schemes occasionally.
It is not however, clear that both Elites Finance Investment Limited and Efinc Global Investment Limited were involved in illicit or criminal investment schemes. The verdict is left for the court to give. It could be a long legal battle. Nevertheless, this should be a warning to innocent citizens to be wary of most of the investment companies they come across, and look more towards the mainstream investment companies of repute. The Securities and Exchange Commission has various packages even for micro investment services.
Source: The EFCC