The couple started their journey to the dock when one Maria Umana on February 22, 2018, petitioned the EFCC, alleging that in 2013, the couple lured her into investing N450,000 in their cooperative society, with the promise that she would receive N67,500 on a monthly basis as interest.
For five years, however, the defendants neither paid the victim the interest nor returned her capital.
The charges read in part, “That you, Gabriel Chizoba Ikpenwa, Lillian Nkechi Ikpenwa, and Easycash Multipurpose Cooperative Society, sometime in 2013 at Uyo, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N450,000 only from one Maria Ebong Umana, under the pretext that if the said Maria Ebong Umana invested the sum of N450,000, she would gain interest of N67,000 monthly, the pretences you knew to be false, thereby committing an offence.”
The couple pleaded not guilty.
The prosecutor, N. Ukoha, asked for a trial date and urged the court to remand the couple in prison.
The defence counsel, C. I. Udoh, informed the court of a bail application for the second defendant, Lilian, pending before the court.
Though the prosecution opposed the application, Justice Archibong granted her bail in the sum of N1m with one surety in like sum.
The case was adjourned till December 9 and 10, 2020, for trial.