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Alleged Scam: EFCC Arraigns US Based Lawyer, Ugwounye…. Denied Bail

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, MARCH 21, (THEWILL) - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned a United States based Nigerian Lawyer, Ephraim Emeka Ugwounye, before an FCT High Court on a one count charge bordering on fraud.

Ugwounye was arraigned today (Monday) before Justice Suleiman Belgore for defrauding the Federal Government of Nigeria of One Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand US Dollars.

His arraignment followed the leave sought by the EFCC through its counsel, Festus Keyamo, to file criminal charges against him. Justice Belgore granted leave to the EFCC to file the charge, which was thereafter read to the accused who pleaded not guilty to the one count charge.

Counsel to the accused, N. J Edechime, applied for bail for his client, arguing that the offense the accused is being prosecuted is bail able.

Counsel to EFCC, Festus Keyamo, faulted the oral bail application made by the Ephraim’s counsel and urged the court to remand the accused in EFCC custody pending the commencement of trial.

Ephraim Emeka Ugwounye.

In his ruling, Justice Belgore denied the accused bail on the premise that bail could not be argued orally. He then ordered the accused to be remanded in EFCC custody till March 30, 2011 when trial will commence.

The One Count charge reads "That you Ephraim Emeka Ugwounye, M sometimes between December 2007 and March 2011 at various places including Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, being entrusted with the sum of $1,550,000.00 (One Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand US Dollars) property of the Federal Government of Nigeria, dishonestly converted to your own use the said entire sum of $1,550,000.00 (One Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand US Dollars) in violation of the agreement between you and the Federal Government of Nigeria through its Embassy in the United States and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 312 of the penal code Act , Cap.532, Laws of the Federation of (Abuja) 1990".

Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency has filed yet another charge against the accused at a federal high court, Abuja. No date has been fixed for his arraignment over the fresh charge.