Palpable anger was evident at the court premises where two brothers and directors of a company were Monday sentenced to a year imprisonment or an option of fine of one million naira each.
Many of their victims, who had thronged the court premises, expressed dissatisfaction over the conviction, though the court ordered the forfeiture of all assets seized from them in the course of investigations.
A statement by the spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which secured the conviction of Kingsley Nwegwu and Joakin Nwegwu, did not state the worth of the seized assets or whether depositors will be paid back in any way.
The Nwegwus are directors of ACJEC Global Services Ltd.
The Nwegwu brothers were convicted by Justice M.L. Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Awka, Anambra State before whom they were charged with 50 counts bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N98.7million.
Their journey to prison began in 2011 when the EFCC received petitions against them, alleging that they were lured to invest the said money in ACJEC Global Services Ltd with the promise of mouth-watering 30- 34 percent interest annually on their investments.
The petitioners alleged that after investing the said money they never got the interest nor the capital invested in the company.
Investigations carried out by the EFCC further revealed that more than N4 billion was paid into the accounts of the convicts by their victims, numbering over 200, in what turned out to be a Ponzi Scheme of sorts. One of the victims was said to have invested more than N50million.
One of the charges against them reads: “That you, Kingsley Chinedu Nwegwu, Chetachukwu Joakim Nwegwu, and ACJEC Global Services Ltd, on or about the 23rd of March, 2011 at Awka, Anambra State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, with intent to defraud, obtained by false pretense the sum of N15,000,000.00
(Fifteen million naira) from Okeke Osita Samuel when you represented that the said amount of money was an investment in a business of partnership venture which would generate more financial income for the said Okeke Osita Samuel, a pretense you knew to be false and
thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) b of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No.14 of 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
After reviewing the evidences brought by the EFCC against them, Justice Abubakar, held that the prosecution proved its case beyond every reasonable doubts, and so, convicted them accordingly.
While sentencing them to one year in prison, the trial judge further ordered that all the properties traced to them in the course of investigations, should be forfeited to the Federal Government. He also gave them an option of fine of N1 million each.