The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port-Harcourt’ s Zonal Office, has arraigned Lechi Comfort Ndukwe and her companies, Dukwe Inc. Ltd, and Gray and Strong Limited, before Justice M. L. Abubakar of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on an eight-count charge bordering on illegal operation of unlicensed businesses and obtaining money by false pretences contrary to Section 58 and punishable under Section 59 (6) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Cap. B3 LFN, 2004.
Ndukwe ran into trouble when some petitioners alleged that she lured them into investing their money in her companies, which were not registered, where she advertised products tagged: “Gray and Strong”, ” Women in Oil” and “Smart Pick Investment” to the public. They further alleged that they invested in different schemes floated by the companies, where “investors” were tricked into believing that they were entitled to certain benefits such as medical kits for the elderly and monthly returns on investments.
She pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when she was arraigned on February 21, 2019.
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Count one reads: “That you, Lechi Comfort Ndukwe, Dukwe Inc. Ltd, Charles Ndukwe (at large) and Ekweogu Henry Nwawuike (at large) between year 2011 and year 2018 at Port-Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did carry on other financial business without the requisite licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 58 and punishable Under Section 59 (6) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act, Cap. B3, LFN, 2004.”
In view of the plea, prosecuting counsel, N.T. Iko applied for a trial date and prayed the court to remand her in prison.
Defence counsel, M.E. Nwosuikwe, moved the motion for bail, which was opposed by Iko on the basis that the application was served on him late and he needed time to respond to it.
Justice Abubakar adjourned the case to March 4, 2019 for hearing and remanded the defendant in EFCC custody pending the determination of her bail.