BY OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
Convicted fraudster, Emmanuel Nwude, who was jailed in 2005 for defrauding a Brazilian bank of $242million, yesterday accused the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) of abandoning him in court after collecting N27 million for his defence.
Nwude, who was testifying in his own defence before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja, where he is facing a fresh 15-count charge of forging the documents of one of the properties seized from him by the court.
He is standing trial alongside two lawyers: Emmanuel Ilechukwu and Roland Kalu, for allegedly forging the documents of the house located at Plot Y. Mobolaji Johnson street, Oregun Alausa, Ikeja.
They pleaded not guilty to the charge brought against they by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Nwude and three others were convicted by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole in 2005 for impersonating Paul Ogwuma, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in order to defraud a Brazilian bank, Banco Noroeste, of $242million between 1995 and 1998.
He was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for the fraud by Justice Oyewole, who is now a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
Nwude after serving part of his jail term is, however, back in court on the new allegations.
In his testimony on Thursday, the defendant accused Agbakoba of abandoning him two weeks after he collected N27 million out of the N30
million fee he charged him for legal representation during his trial
for the $242 million scam.
He said, “After Chief G.O. K. Ajayi (SAN), I brought in Olisa Agbakoba
(SAN) to stand for me.
“I have never been in court before, I never had experience of court.
When I brought Agbakoba, he charged me N30 million and I paid him N27
“Two weeks later Agbakoba asked me to bring more money and I said no
because I just paid him N27 million. He said he wants the money to
pursue an appeal.
“He said if I did not pay the balance he would not appear in my matter
again. I told him to go to hell.
“On the next adjournment, he refused to come and I was stranded in
court then EFCC introduced Ricky Tarfa (SAN) to me,” Nwude said.
The defendant, who was led in evidence by defence counsel, Chuks
Nwachukwu also denied knowledge of the source of the funds from the
$242 million fake airport scam.
According to him, when he was standing trial for the $242 million
scam, he was approached by a member of his legal team, Dr Chris Uche
(SAN) in prison and suggested that he make a plea bargain agreement
with the EFCC.
Nwude claimed that Uche had advised that he will make the plea bargain
agreement like what was done for Amaka Anajemba (one of his
co-defendants in the fake airport scam) so that he will not be solely
made to repay the funds to the victims.
The defendant stated that he refused Uche’s offer because the funds
found in his account by the anti-graft agency were not proceeds of
He said, “I told him that I’m not responsible for the $242million.
That I’m not responsible for this money, I don’t know anything about
“The EFCC should check all the remittances that came through my
accounts, though I have my friend late Christian Anajemba’s (husband
of Amaka, his co-defendant) various bank accounts.
“As money came to my accounts, I gave it to one of my Indian friends,
Mr Naresh Asnani, who has contact with a Swiss bank, who in turn does
the exchange for me.
“When the money comes in, he (Asnani) takes his commission and I will
take my commission and I give the large sum to Christian Anajemba,”
The trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case to May 24
for continuation of trial.