Daily Archives: November 2, 2007

Nigeria Woman Found guilty Of Extorting Ngozi Iweala’s Husband Over Sex

A jury convicted a Laurel woman late today of taking part in an extortion scheme against a neurosurgeon with whom she had an affair.Queen Nwoye, 28, was accused of conspiring to extort $180,000 from Ikemba Iweala, a doctor at Providence Hospital. Prosecutors said Nwoye and a partner — who has not been charged in the case — threatened to reveal the affair unless Iweala turned over the money. Iweala, who is married, paid the money but then alerted authorities, prosecutors said.

Jurors deliberated less than two hours before returning their verdict. Nwoye likely faces a prison term of 30 to 37 months under federal sentencing guidelines, prosecutors said. U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle set a Jan. 18 sentencing date.

The 59-year-old Nigerian neurosurgeon at Providence Hospital confessed that he started an affair with Nwoye, a nurse who hailed from his native country.

He told the jury yesterday that his stupidity sullied his and his family’s reputation and seriously wounded his marriage.

“Things will never be the same,” a frail-looking, gray-bearded Iweala said with a sigh as he testified this week. “I am still married. . . . But I feel very angry at myself. And, I have lost a lot of money.”

Iweala hoped to conceal the affair and protect his community standing in the United States and in Nigeria, he acknowledged to prosecutors. Other members of his family, based in the cozy suburb of Potomac and with high profiles in their own fields, had much at stake as well.

His wife, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is a former foreign and finance minister for Nigeria and a veteran employee of the World Bank. She is a Harvard-educated economist and was mentioned as a possible successor to Paul D. Wolfowitz, who resigned as president in June. This month, the new World Bank president, Robert B. Zoellick, made her one of his top deputies.

Uzodinma Iweala, the couple’s son, who graduated from St. Albans and Harvard, is the author of the critically acclaimed “Beasts of No Nation,” his first novel. The fictionalized story of an African child warrior was released last year.

Nwoye insisted that she, too, was a victim.

Testifying in her own defense, she admitted yesterday that she helped collect the money and helped her boyfriend, Adriane Osuagwu, pretend to be her cousin so he could conceal his identity. But with a sullen face and insistent cries, Nwoye testified that she was powerless to resist the orders of Osuagwu, whom she described as a physically abusive, controlling man and as the scheme’s mastermind.

“This is a sad case,” Nwoye’s attorney, John Iweanoge, told jurors in opening statements earlier in the week. “You’re going to hear evidence of adultery, no question. You’re going to hear about money going into Ms. Nwoye’s accounts.”

But, the defense attorney continued, “Ms. Nwoye was a victim too, She made the mistake of her life falling in love in the middle of a divorce with the wrong man.”

According to court papers, the story began in early 2002 when Nwoye, then a nurse in training, noticed the doctor’s name in a hospital directory. She said she recognized Iweala as a fellow Nigerian and introduced herself. They became friends, and, in September 2002, they became lovers. The sexual relationship ended in August 2003, they both say, but their friendship continued.

Nearly three years later, in February 2006, Iweala testified, he received a surprise call from Nwoye. She told Iweala that he must call her cousin “Ufondu” in Georgia. It was then that “Ufondu,” an alias that the nurse’s new boyfriend was using, demanded that the doctor pay $20,000 or he would tell Iweala’s wife about the affair. Within a week, the man demanded another $20,000, prosecutors said.

On March 10, 2006, Nwoye called Iweala to suggest that they meet because “she said she had not had sex in a while,” according to court papers. While the two were having sex in the parking lot in Nwoye’s car, someone approached and began taking photographs. That night, “Ufondu” called Iweala again to demand an additional $100,000, the court papers said.

Iweala said the demands by “Ufondu” continued. Authorities say Nwoye picked up some of the checks and cash and deposited the money into her and her boyfriend’s bank accounts. “There is a lot I could have done,” she told the jury. “I really wanted something to be done, but I couldn’t help myself.”

Iweala brought the case to the FBI’s attention and agreed to help authorities in the prosecution. “He felt compelled to bring the culprits to justice in order to prevent others from falling prey to a similar scheme,” said Iweala’s attorney, Vincent Cohen.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Hart-Edwards told jurors that the case is not about getting the money back. “That’s gone,” she said.

One unanswered question for the jury so far concerns the boyfriend, Osuagwu. If he orchestrated this extortion plot along with the nurse, as the government alleges, where is he, and why hasn’t he been charged, too?

“Beats me,” Nwoye’s attorney said. “I’m surprised he’s not here now, as a defendant.”

Prosecutors declined to comment on why Osuagwu has not been charged.

– Washington Post

 

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Ibori’s Wife Released After Arrest In London

The British Police today released the wife of former Delta State governor, James Ibori, after she was arrested on at the Heathrow Airport on her while waiting to board a plane to Nigeria.

“I can confirm that she is no longer in custody. She has been released. If you haave her personal number and called her she will pick up her” Sergeant Atkin of the Metropolitan Police told The Times of Nigeria over the phone.

 “We are not allowed to discuss the case any further with you because of privacy rules.” He added.

Theresa Ibori, arrest is believed to be connected to her husband’s ongoing investigation by the British Police which froze his assets in the United Kingdom last month. The case is the subject of a going legal battle in British court.

A British judge had last month ruled that Ibori’s assets be unfrozen due to the inability of the police to tender evidence that the assets were proceeds of criminal activities. The Police appealed that ruling and an Appeals Court reinstated the freeze and gave the police an extension to tender evidence against Ibori.

LG Poll: Go to Court, AC Tells State Chapters

Action Congress (AC), has called on all the 36 state branches of the  party to, without delay, launch litigations against on-going plans for  local government elections in their states.

They are to use as evidence, the discredited voters’ register compiled by  the equally discredited Independent National Electoral Commission under   Professor Maurice Iwu.” AC said. In a release, yesterday, in Abuja , National Secretary  of the party, Dr Usman Bugaje, told party chairmen that the   party understood the open admission by INEC that the register was   incomplete, to mean that it was not a ready and proper document to be used   for any further elections in the country.
“In addition,  INEC had neither done any further work on the  discredited register since the April elections, nor did it make any move to  meet the statutory requirement of updating the register in readiness for the local government elections. It is also clear, that even if it was ready, the law requires the register to be displayed for a mandatory period, which again is not  the case here.”

ugaje said the party is aware that in a number of states, the electoral commissions have been dissolved and replaced with new memberships, without regard to the statutory nature of their tenure.

In some other states, the state electoral commissions have introduced  illegal charges and fees, and several other impediments that  the law does not recognise. It is also clear, he said, that in view of what happened in the so-called council elections in Ebonyi State, where the ruling party, the  PDP claimed to have won 100 per cent, it would  be a mistake to assume that the PDP has learnt anything from the tragic incident they unleashed on the nation in April in the name of elections.

In the light of this serious shortcoming and a serious disregard of due process of law, the party is left with no option than to seek the  intervention of the courts to put a stop to this open, contemptuous  disregard of the law and the Constitution.”