EFCC Drags Fake BDC Operator, One Other To Court For Currency Racketeering In Enugu

By Damilare Adeleye

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Friday, arraigned the duo of Onwuka Chimezie Henry and Ekene Ibegbu before Justice F. O. Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court sitting in Independence Layout, Enugu State on a two-count charge bordering on currency racketeering and operating bureau de change business without an appropriate licence.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Onwuka Chimezie Henry and Ekene Ibegbu, sometime in February 2024 at Owerri Road, Enugu, Enugu State, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria did jointly carry on the business of Bureau De Change under the name of ‘Archibenkong Enterprises Bureau De Change’ without due incorporation and valid licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 57 (1) amd (2) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act No. 5, 2020 and punishable under Section 57 (5) (b) of the same Act”.

They pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to them. In view of their pleas, counsel to the EFCC, Nasir Umar prayed the court for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded at Enugu State Correctional facility.

However, defence counsel; E. C. Nnaedozie and J. A. Okuta informed the court about pending bail applications . They moved the said applications and prayed the court to grant their clients bail on liberal terms.

Umar vehemently opposed the said applications on the grounds that “the offence is becoming prevalent in our society and we fear they may jump bail my lord”.

After listening to both sides, the court granted them bail on the following conditions:

They were granted bail in the sum of N1,000,000. 00 (One Million Naira) each with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must have a landed property in Enugu and must show evidence of tax payment.

The Commission must verify their addresses and report to the court within seven (7) days.

The defendants were remanded at the Enugu State Correctional facility while the matter was adjourned to October 16, 2024 for trial.

The second defendant (Ibegbu) was arrested by members of the Joint Task Force of the Enugu Zonal Command of the EFCC on Thursday, February 8, 2024 along Owerri Road, Enugu State following actionable intelligence received concerning his alleged involvement in currency racketeering.

EFCC investigations revealed that Ibegbu was working for the first defendant (Henry).

Further investigation revealed that Henry was operating a bureau de change business without due incorporation and valid licence. He was invited and detained on February 13, 2024.