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N23m Fraud: Court Begins Trial-within-Trial of Malaysian-based Okoroji

The trial-within-trial of Chinonso Okoroji, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] on an amended four-count charge, bordering on money laundering to the tune of N23,697,000 commenced before Justice Ogunbanjo Giwa of Federal High Court Abuja on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

Okoroji, a Malaysian-based man, was apprehended by officers of the Nigerian Police on December 28, 2018 in Imo State for the alleged fraud, and was subsequently handed over to the EFCC on January 3, 2019 for further investigation and prosecution.

After investigations were concluded, he was brought before Justice Giwa on June 3, 2019, and charged with three counts bordering on money laundering. The charges were, however, amended to four counts.

One of the amended charges reads: “That you, Okoroji Chinonso Stanley, on or about 3rd of April, 2018 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court disguised the origin of the sum of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) only in your Ecobank Plc Account which you know to be proceeds of unlawful act to wit: participation in an organized criminal group and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended by the Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the amended charges.

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