The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC South East Zonal office on Wednesday January 16,2019 released the sum of N4,300,140.52 (Four Million,Three Hundred Thousand,One Hundred and Forty Naira,Fifty Two Kobo) to an Onitsha based victim of fraud,Mr.Ignatius Nwoke at the Commission’s office in Enugu.
Presenting the Cheque to Nwoke on behalf of the Acting Chairman of the Commission,Ibrahim Magu,the Zonal Head,Usman Imam stated that the occasion was instructive and reflective of what EFCC represents apart from the public personae of just an institution after the big looters.
“ This is one of what the Commission does,to help the helpless. This is a story we want the world to know,that EFCC apart from the mandate of sanitizing the public institutions through our core mandates of investigation and prosecution,we are also in the business of using that to help victims who have nobody to help them in the event they are scammed.”
Imam noted that the case was not normal but one in which, suspects have jumped bail and others were at large such that any other institution or officers which were not diligent could have swept by the side and continued with other cases.
He further stressed that the recovered fund should not be seen as being small considering the hardship in the country and the fact that the victim over the years might have felt it was impossible to ever get back his money.
Reacting, the elated Ignatius Nwoke said he was grateful to EFCC and all the staff who helped him recover part of his funds.
“ I am very very happy to receive this money. I thank EFCC and all its members for their efforts. I thank the Chairman and the zonal head who recovered this money for me. I pray God to bless you.”
On his advice to Nigerians regarding his experience, he said; “ I tell people to be careful of fraud, fraud is much in Nigeria now and how can after suffering for over twenty years, someone will come and defraud you of it,” he questioned rather rhetorically.
Nwoke’s journey which according to him, had cost him the life of his brother because he could not afford money needed for his treatment started in 2010 when he was approached by a supposed friend,who brought three other fraudsters posing as Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) staff offering him contracts purportedly running into millions of naira.
One of them, in fact, the arrow head of the scheme, Obumneme Ojimba who admitted to the commission of the crime was arrested and granted bail but later took to flight after being granted administrative bail had part of the money swindled from the victim in his account.
The Commission after painstaking investigation through its counsel, Anasoh Henry Onyekachi filed a motion exparte at an Ikoyi High Court for Non-Conviction based forfeiture under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Fraud offenses Act 2006 over the N4,300.140.52 domicilled in the account of the one of confessed fraudsters.
The court having ordered the publication of the interim forfeiture which was granted,went ahead to grant an order finally forfeiting the said fund to the nominal complainant.