Three-Member Syndicate Granted Bail
Justice Lewis Alagoa of the Federal High Court Owerri, Imo State today Monday, May 28, 2018 granted bail to the trio of Clementina Ndukwe, Anthony Njoku and Alexander Umunna, all members of a three-man counterfeit syndicate operating in Owerri and its environs. They were arraigned on may 11, 2018 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Enugu office on a six count charge bordering on Conspiracy and Currency Counterfeiting to the tune of N1, 147,000.00 (One million, One Hundred and Forty Seven thousand naira).
The offence was contrary to section 6(2) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act, Cap C35, L.F.N. 2004 and punishable under section 5(1) (c) of the same Act.
When the case which was adjourned for formal bail application and ruling came up, counsel to the defendants, Barr. B.M.D.O Chinekezie for the the 1st defendants and I.G. Nwachukwu for the 2nd and 3rd defendants applied for the bail on behalf of their respective clients.
However, in view of the letter written by the 2nd and 3rd defendants to the Commission which notice was brought to the court by prosecution counsel, Mashal Umukoro Onome to change their plea, counsel to the 1st defendant, prayed the court to give him time to study the case file having recently taken over the case in order to ascertain if his client, would follow in her co defendant’s footsteps.
Thereafter, Justice Alagoa granted the defendants bail in the sum of N2 million each with three sureties in like sum.
He ruled that the sureties must be residents of Owerri, Imo state and must be verified by the registrar of the court. He adjourned the case to July 4 for trial and ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison custody pending the fulfillment of their bail conditions.
The case which bothers on conspiracy and currency counterfeiting was reported to the Commission on 12th April, 2018 by the Department of State Services (DSS) Imo State command, where it was alleged that some group of persons were trading in counterfeit banknotes.
The Commission swung into action and commenced investigation where it was discovered that the prime suspect, Mrs. Clementina Ndukwe who sells bread at a popular bus stop in Owerri metropolis, had a link to other suspects in Lagos where she normally buys her counterfeit notes which were regularly sent to her by a driver of one of the new generation transport companies.
Further investigations also revealed that she sell her counterfeit banknotes to the 2nd and 3rd defendants at the rate of N2,500 for every N25,000 counterfeit notes, the 2nd and 3rd accused will afterward mix the counterfeit notes with genuine banknotes and thereafter transact normal businesses with them.
The sum of 1,147,000: 00 worth of counterfeit notes was recovered in her shop alongside some papers cut to U.S dollars size which is used for production of fake dollar notes otherwise known as “Wash-Wash” in the local parlance.