The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday re-arraigned an American, Marco Antonio Ramirez, before an Ikeja Special Offences Court for allegedly defrauding three Nigerians of $1,229,800 under the pretext of securing America’s Green Card for them.
Those allegedly defrauded by the American and his companies are: Ambassador Godson Echejue, Abubakar Umar Sodiq and Olukayode Sodimu.
The American was re-arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada on an amended 12-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining under false pretence.
The accused was arraigned alongside his companies, U.S.A Now LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and U.S.A Now Capital Group.
Ramirez and co-defendants were first arraigned on June 22, 2017 before Justice Josephine Oyefeso on a 16-count charge but pleaded not guilty to the alleged offences.
Following his plea, he was admitted to bail for $25,000.
Midway into his trial, his case file was transferred to Justice Dada, making his trial to start de novo (afresh).
During proceedings yesterday, Ramirez again pleaded not guilty to the amended 12-count charges brought against him by the EFCC.
EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, N. S. Oweize, asked the court for a trial date.
The defendant’s lawyer, Ademola Adefolaju, who did not oppose the prosecutor’s request, prayed the court to let his client continue with the bail terms earlier granted him by Justice Oyefeso when he was first arraigned.
When the judge asked the accused if he had fully complied with the bail term, Adefolaju confirmed that his client had fully complied with the bail terms.
The lawyer said his client had also been visiting EFCC’s office, as directed by the court.
Following his submissions, Justice Dada granted the request of the defence.
She held: “Since the defendant has not breached any of the bail terms granted by my brother judge, the defendant is hereby allowed to continue with the terms.”
The judge adjourned the matter till October 7, 8, 9 and 10 for trial.