A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered the remand at Ikoyi Prisons of a 56 years old Italian, Piero Allan Franchillo, over alleged N717 million fraud.
The accused, a businessman, was arraigned by the Special Fraud Unit, SFU, of the Police, on a five-count charge bordering on advanced fee fraud, forgery and altering of documents.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the offence.
Justice Mohammed Idris ordered his remand in prison custody and adjourned the case till February 7 for determination of his bail.
The prosecutor, Mrs Susan Ezema, had told the court that the accused conspired with others, who are now on the run, to obtain about N717 million from Zenith Bank, for the construction of Delta Mall at Effurun, Delta.
The police said the accused fraudulently converted the money to his personal use rather than executing the project for which the sum was obtained.
He said the alleged offence was committed between August 2013 and April 2014, at Zenith Bank’s headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to the prosecutor, Franchilo also forged an extract of minutes of meeting of the board of directors of New Technic Construction Nig. Ltd, purportedly held on August 26, 2013, where he accepted APG/Bid Bond Line for construction of the mall.
He was accused of forging the document, which enabled him obtain the N717 million from the bank.
The alleged offences contravenes the provisions of Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2010, and sections 390 (1), 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code, Cap C. 38, Laws of the Federation, 2010.