The Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State, has convicted Nwegwu and Joakin Nwegwu for conspiracy and obtaining money to the tune of N98.7m by false pretences.
The duo, who are managing directors of ACJEC Global Services Ltd, were prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on a 50-count charge in 2011.
The EFCC had 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 to 34 per cent interest annually on their investment.
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 N4bn was paid into the accounts of the convicts by their victims numbering over 200 in what turned out to be a Ponzi Scheme of sort.
One of the victims was said to have invested more than N50m.
Count 15 of the charges against them reads, “That you, Kingsley Chinedu Nwegwu, Chetachukwu Joakim Nwegwu and ACJEC Global Services Ltd, on or about March 23, 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 N15m 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 evidence brought by the EFCC against them, Justice Abubakar held that the prosecution proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt, and so convicted them accordingly.
While sentencing them to one year in prison, Justice Abubakar 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 a fine of N1m each.
However, many of their victims, who had thronged the court premises, expressed dissatisfaction over the one-year imprisonment given to them especially the option of N1m fine