The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office on Friday, May 31, 2019 arraigned Nkechi Stella Nwoke before Justice I.M Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. She was arraigned on one-count charge bordering on stealing to the tune of N12, 000, 000 (Twelve Million Naira), punishable under Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C 38 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 read together with Section 1 (1)(b) of the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debt) and Financial Malpractice in Bank Act cap B3 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007.
The count charge read: “That you Nkechi Stella Nwoke between the months of December, 2013 to August, 2014 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court whilst you were a Staff of Mutual Benefit Life Assurance Policy stole the sum of N12,000,000 (Twelve Million Naira) only, property of one Austin Ihiamadu and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C 38 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 read together with Section 1 (1)(b) of the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debt) and Financial Malpractice in Bank Act cap B3 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007.
She pleaded not guilty to the count charge.
In view of the defendant’s plea, the prosecution counsel, M.T. Iko prayed for a date for the commencement of trial. However, the defense counsel, N.D. Nweke, orally applied for bail for his client and prayed for accelerated hearing of the case.
Justice Sani granted the defendant bail in the sum of N5, 000, 000 (Five Milion Naira (N5,000,000) only and one surety in like sum. The surety must reside within the jurisdiction of the court and must have a traceable and identifiable address. He or she must swear to an affidavit of means and must present two recent passport photographs which must be verified by the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court in conjunction with the Counsels of the case.
The Judge adjourned the matter to June 24 and 25, 2019 for commencement of trial and ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of her bail conditions.
Troubles started for Nwoke, a former Insurance Officer, when a petitioner alleged that, sometimes in December 2014, within Port Harcourt, the defendant fraudulently deceived him into embracing a Life Assurance Policy while she was working with Mutual Benefit Insurance Comlany. He further stated that he saved a total sum of N18, 000, 000 (Eighteen Million Naira), in the Policy.
However, the petitioner later found out that, the defendant was not remitting the money accordingly to the designated bank, but saved only Six Million Naira and diverted the sum of Twelve Million Naira (N12,000,000) for her personal use. All efforts to get the defendant repay the un- remitted money proved abortive.