By Akanimo Kufre (The New Diplomat’s A/Ibom|C/River Correspondent)
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on Friday, arraigned 62-year-old Umanah Umanah before Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo on a two-count charge bordering on forgery, obtaining by false pretense, fraud and issuance of dud cheque.
The accused, alleged to be a notorious Ponzi scheme operator and serial fraudster, who specialized in luring people to investing in his company, No Burn Global Limited with a false assurance of a bogus 50% weekly interest, was arrested by operatives of the Commissions on July 1, 2020, at a hotel located in Osongoma area of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
Umanah was arrested following a petition by a victim who was defrauded of over N2.9m and subsequently issued him a cheque for N500,000 which returned unpaid as the account was not funded to cover the sum on the cheque.
According to the petitioner who said he made efforts to recover his invested capital, but all proved abortive as Umanah quickly went into hiding and stopped taking his calls.
The EFCC claimed it has received over seventy petitions against Umanah Umanah across his branches nationwide including the FCT.
Umanah pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge preferred against him which reads: “That you Umanah Ekaette Umanah on or about the 31st day of July, 2017 at Uyo within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did make a forged document to wit: United Bank of Africa (UBA) cheque with cheque number: 73131308 of No Burn Global Stakeholders Multipurpose by appending your signature on the said cheque leaflet when not being a signatory to the account of No Burn Global Stakeholders Multipurpose domiciled with UBA, knowing same to be false and with the intent that it may be acted upon as genuine and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 of the Revised Edition ( Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (2) of the same Act”.
In view of his plea, Adebayo Soares, Counsel to the EFCC, prayed the court to remand the accused in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service, and fix a date for trial to enable the prosecution prove its case against the accused.
The case was adjourned to November 9, 2020 for hearing of bail application while the accused was remanded in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The same Umanah about 28 years ago was charged to court for operating an illegal wonder Bank.
He stunned the residents of Port Harcourt in Rivers State during the period, when his finance outfit carefully crafted a scheme through which the firm allegedly swindled countless number of unsuspecting Nigerians.
Specifically, Umanah’s firm otherwise called Umanah Bank was located on Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt. It was sought after as a booming business by the teeming depositors, who thronged a number of commercial banks to withdraw their deposits and placed them in the wonder bank.
The attraction was that whatever anyone deposited into the Umanah Bank, the depositor could after full four weeks withdraw the entire deposit with a whopping 100 per cent interest paid in full.
It was gathered that at the time almost all banks in the old East had ran out of cash because everybody had withdrawn their entire cash to deposit with Umanah Bank.