By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Jane Echewodo
Justice Josephine Oyefeso of a Lagos high court sitting in Ikeja has granted an American, Marco Antonio Ramirez, $250,000 bail for allegedly defrauding three Nigerians of $565,000.
Ramirez, who had been detained in prison custody, had denied the allegation. He was arraigned on a 16-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence and conspiracy to commit fraud brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
According to the charge, Ramirez, being the Managing Director of three companies, USA Now Plc, Eagleford Instalodge Group and USA Now Energy Capital Group, allegedly collected $10,000 from one Olukayode Sodimu under the pretence that the money was meant to facilitate an American Green Card with the US Immigration Services.
Ramirez was further accused of fraudulently obtaining $10,000 from one Abubakar Umar through a fictitious investment programme in the US, for the latter to be eligible for a US green card.
The commission also alleged that Ramirez collected $545,000 from one Ambassador Godson Echejue under the pretence that the money was meant for investing in his company Eagle Ford Limited to facilitate procuring of a US green card.
Justice Oyefeso granted Ramirez bail based on the fact that he was held in EFCC detention for about 130 days in Abuja without bail, before being arraigned on April 8, 2016.
The judge further stressed that the defendant was later granted bail by an FCT High Court, but later arraigned again by EFCC in Lagos on June 22 on the same charge, after being detained for 10 days.
Justice Oyefeso said: “It is at the discretion of the court to grant bail and having considered the nature of the offence, the defendant is hereby admitted to bail in the sum of $250, 000 or in its naira equivalent.”
The judge adjourned the matter till November 15 and 16 for continuation of trial.