A female journalist, Ms Emike Ukhuedobah, Thursday told an Ikeja High Court how she was used by a convicted fraudster, Ikechukwu Ogbu, to swindle her in-law of N12.3 million.
Ukhuedoba, an Abuja-based journalist, said the scam was orchestrated by Ogbu, 46, from inside his cell in Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos, where he was serving a jail term for fraud related offences.
Reports said the witness was testifying at the resumed trial of Ogbu before Justice Lateefat Okunnu.
Ogbu is being prosecuted alongside John Chinonso and Chuks Ibebagwu, whom the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleged conspired with him to commit the fraud.
The three defendants were arraigned on March 24, 2011 on a 10-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretences.
Ukhuedoba, who was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Mr Kayode Oni, said Ogbu used her as a bait to swindle her in-law, Mr Pat Enechukwu, of the money in May 2009.
She said Ogbu, who was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in 2008, had placed an advertorial in the love links page of Vanguard Newspapers of March 7, 2009.
Ukhuedoba said: “In the advert, he claimed that he was Prince Eze, 46, from Anambra State, living in Lagos and urgently needed a working class business lady between 39 and 45 years to marry.
“I wanted to go out of my domain and I was looking for friendship. I had a friend who did it and she is happily married till today. I said let me try and that was why I contacted him.”
The witness said when she got to Lagos, she called Ogbu who told her that he was being detained in Kirikiri Prison by the EFCC over a matter relating to money laundering.
According to her, when she got there, she was treated well by the prison warders, which gave her the impression that Ogbu was an influential person.
The witness said she informed Ogbu that she had a son from a prior relationship and they became friends.
“After sometime, he told me that one of his partners from the United States of America wanted to send him money.
“He said he was afraid of lodging the money in his own account for fear that it could be seized.”