The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday re-arraigned a 61-year-old medical doctor, Michael Adekunle, over alleged $243,500 (about N36.5 million) fraud.
Adekunle appeared before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of an Ikeja High Court on a six-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the defendant, who lives at No.10, Catholic Mission St., Lagos Island, was previously arraigned on June 19, 2012, before Justice Aishat Opesanwo.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted a N2 million bail.
The re-arraignment was necessitated by Opesanwo’s transfer to the Lagos Island Division of the Lagos State High Court.
During Thursday’s proceedings, EFCC’s Counsel, Mrs Fadeke Giwa, asked the court to order Adekunle to retake his plea.
The court acceded to her request and the charge was read to the defendant.
Giwa alleged that the defendant committed the offences between October 2009 and November 2010 in Lagos.
She said Adekunle conspired with Samuel Nwankwo (now convicted) and Alhaji Atta, still at large, to obtain a total of $243,500 from one Mr Collins Turhobo.
Giwa said the defendant obtained the money under the pretext that it represented fees and logistics for processing of a $5 million loan he had secured for Turhobo.
According to her, the offences contravened Sections 1(1), (a) and 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006.
NAN also reports that the offence of obtaining money by false pretences attracts between seven and 20 years imprisonment.
However, Adekunle again pleaded innocence of the offences.
Ipaye permitted the defendant to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted him by the former trial judge.
She adjourned the case to March 4 for trial. (NAN)