By Precious Igbonwelundu
Two men were yesterday arraigned before an Edo State High Court, Benin for allegedly defrauding a Belgian nurse to the tune of €61,500.
The accused, Gabriel Osereme Xavi (aka Collins Page) and Aikhaituamen Best Junior Cyril were brought before Justice E.F. Ikponmwen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
While ‘Page’ was arraigned on 12 counts, Aikhaituamen was docked on a six count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences, to which they pleaded not guilty.
According to the EFCC, the accused allegedly fleeced the 49 year-old Belgian nurse, Goryczka Janina, whom they met on Facebook, of the said sum.
The Belgian was said to have met one of the suspects, ‘Page’ in January this year claimed he was a Croatian Engineer resident in Wigan, England.
“Within days of their meeting, “Page” contacted her with the story that he was in Nigeria to supervise a construction project in Edo State and that he was having difficulty with his credit card as it had been blocked for security reasons. “He solicited Janina’s assistance for desperate cash.Over the next few weeks, Janina kept sending him money until she had transferred a total of €61,500 through one Emmanuel Okoh based in Cape Town, South Africa and Messrs Junior Best and Cyril Ojiemen.
“When ‘Mr. Page’ pressurized her for more money, Janina confided in a friend who told her that she might have fallen into the hands of scammers,” said EFCC.
Having pleaded not guilty, counsel to EFCC, G.K. Latono while praying the court to remand the duo in prison custody, requested for a trial date.
However, lawyers to the suspects prayed the court for short adjournment to enable them file applications for bail.
After listening to the parties, presiding Justice Ikponmwen remanded the suspects in prison custody and adjourned the matter to December 8 for ruling on bail application.
Pwelundu reports that the charge against the suspects stated thus: “Gabriel Osereme Xavi (a.k.a. Collins Page), Aikhaituamen Best Junior, Ojiemen Cyril (still at Large) and Emmanuel Okoh (still at Large) sometime between January and February 2014 at Benin within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable court with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain money by false pretence from Goryczka Janina, offences contrary to and punishable by Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006”.
“Gabriel Osereme Xavi (a.k.a. Collins Page) and Emmanuel Okoh (still at Large) on or about the 31st day of January, 2014 at Benin within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable court with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of €40,000 (Forty Thousand Euro) from Goryczka Janina on the false representation that you were a Croatian Engineer handling a road construction project in Edo State, Nigeria and the money was for purchase of equipment and materials towards the project, which representation you knew to be false”.
By Precious Igbonwelundu