By Lawani Mikairu
A team of legal luminaries have been briefed by the chairman of Air Peace airline, Barrister Allen Onyema, to prove that the fraud and money laundering allegations against him and his Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Ejiroghene Eghagha by the US Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia are false, as he complied with extant financial laws.
A statement from the Law firm of A.O. Alegeh & Co said: “ On behalf of Allen Onyema, we hereby state that he strongly denies and will vigorously defend himself against the allegations made against him by the US Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia in relation to purchase of Aircraft, Aircraft spares and Aircraft maintenance”.
“None of the allegations involve any third party funds but relate to his funds utilized in the Airline business. There is no allegation that any Bank [in the United States, Nigeria or elsewhere], Company or individual suffered any financial or any loss whatsoever”.
“The allegations are unfounded and strange to him. Allen Onyema has a track record built on honesty and integrity and will take all necessary steps to clear his good name and hard-earned reputation. He looks forward to an opportunity to rebut these allegations in Court”.
Chief Allen Onyema had earlier denied the fraud and money laundering charges against him by the United States of America government. The Northern District of Georgia Attorney charged the chairman with bank fraud and money laundering for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.
Also charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme is Ejiroghene Eghagha, the airline’s chief of Administration and Finance.
Reacting to the allegations Onyema said he has never conducted business with any illegalities and he was willing to defend his innocence in the United States court
Onyema said: “Thank you for reaching out to me. I can confirm to you that all allegations are false and are in no way in line with my character as a person and as a businessman whose only aim has been to build Nigeria and improve wellbeing.
“As the press statement clearly stated, these are indictment that only contains charges. I am innocent of all charges and the US government will find NO dirt on me because I have never conducted business with any illegalities.
“Be rest assured that I also have my lawyers on this and these mere allegations will be refuted”.
“I never laundered money in my life, neither have I committed bank fraud anywhere in the world. Every Kobo I transferred to the US for aircraft purchase went through the Central Bank of Nigeria LC regime and all were used for the same purpose. The American companies that received the funds are still in business. I never took a penny from any US bank or Nigerian bank. I am willing to defend my innocence in the US courts,” He said.