It appears that notorious convicted fraudster Emmanuel Nwude’s current lawyer is feeling the pressure of his ongoing prosecution before the Ikeja High Court in Charge No. ID/6407C/17.
Emmanuel Uchehukwu Ilechukwu, who is standing trial at the Ikeja High Court, along with his ex-convict client and another individual on a 15-count indictment for forgery, uttering a forged document, making a document without authority, unlawfully dealing with forfeited property,
making false statements to public officials, conspiring and attempting to pervert the course of justice, fabricating evidence and giving false testimony.
In 2005, Emmanuel Nwude pleaded guilty to charges related to the theft of some $190 million from Brazilian bank, Banco Noroeste and was sentenced to five terms of five years imprisonment, which he served concurrently. He agreed to surrender assets acquired with the stolen money to the former shareholders of the bank, and his sentence included an order that he forfeit those assets to the victims of his criminal conduct.
Since his release, he has embarked on a series of unsuccessful efforts to reverse his convictions and the forfeiture orders. Each has failed.
The charges pending against Ilechukwu and Nwude have their origins in these efforts, which led them to engage in the conduct for which their trial is ongoing.
Ever since the prosecution closed its case in the ongoing trial, Nwude and Ilechukwu have resorted to all manner of devices to delay the proceedings, from petitions against the presiding Judge and the prosecutor.
Both petitions were properly investigated by the National Judicial Council, in the case of the Judge, and the EFCC, in the case of the prosecuting counsel. Both petitions having been dismissed as baseless, they have now resorted to regularly changing counsel so as to delay the trial.
The COVID-19 pandemic has come to their assistance in delaying proceedings, but has obviously not eased the pressure on them.
The desperation caused by this pressure appears to be the cause of Ilechukwu resorting to circulating a false and scurrilous WhatsApp message accusing Babajide Ogundipe and Muhammad Dele Belgore, SAN., the senior partners of Lagos law firm Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe & Belgore that represented the complainants in the Banco Noroeste prosecution, of serious criminal conduct.
Messrs. Ogundipe and Belgore assert that the allegations against them are false and defamatory. The outcome of this for Ilechukwu is additional jeopardy. Civil and criminal proceedings are being prepared against Mr Ilechukwu, and he should soon expect to have to further defend himself, following this further foolhardy conduct, in civil defamation proceedings as well as in respect of charges under the Criminal Code and the Cybercrimes (Prohibition,
Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015.