The trial of one Marco Antonio Ramirez, an American businessman, for an alleged $368,698.24 fraud before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos could not continue on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, due to the absence of the defence counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is prosecuting Ramirez on an amended nine-count charge alongside his companies: USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and USA NOW Energy Capital Group LP.
One of the counts reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP, on or about the 26th day of July, 2013 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $250,000 from Gabriel Ogie Edeoghon under the false representation that the sum was his investment in your company: USA NOW Energy Capital Group LP in the Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) United States of America Investor Programme, which investment would qualify him to be eligible to a USA Green Card, and which representation you knew to be false.”
Another count reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, on or about the 5th day of March, 2014 at Lagos, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $50,281.33 from Oludare Talabi, under the false representation that the said sum is to procure United States of America L1 VISA programme for him, which representation you knew to be false.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges.
At today’s proceedings, counsel for the EFCC, S.O. Daji, informed the court that he got in touch with the lead prosecuting counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN, yesterday.
“I spoke with the learned silk yesterday, and he informed me that he would be in court,” he said.
He further told the court that a lawyer from Pedro’s Chambers, Theo Sunday, later got in touch with him, saying he was on his way to the court to represent the defendant when his car developed a fault and that he was trying to get it fixed.
However, despite the fact that the case was stood down, the defence counsel did not show up in court.
“Since it is for defence, we shall be obliging them an adjournment,” Daji said.
Subsequently, the matter was adjourned till Tuesday, June 27, 2023 “for continuation of defence.”
Meanwhile, Justice Dada also adjourned a separate amended 16-count charge against Ramirez and his companies till June 27, 2023.
The prosecuting counsel, M.S. Owede, informed the court that he got information that Pedro “went for a tribunal matter.”