A Nigerian billionaire businessman and investor accused of involvement in alleged Internet wire fraud, Mr. Obinwanne Okeke has hired a lawyer to defend him.
According to PremiumTimes, Obinwanne has just appointed John Iweanoje, as his lawyer, according to court documents seen by the news website.
The medium said Iweanoje is taking over from Rahul Sharma, a public defender hired by a United States judge to stand as counsel to Okeke.
Sharma was appointed by the U.S Department of Justice after Obinwanne could not appoint a lawyer in his defense.
The accused had failed to appear with a lawyer during his initial court appearance on August 9. Iweanoje indicated that he was stepping in to defend the Abuja-based businessman later the same day.
According to available reports, there are indications that Obinwanne did not put in a plea when he made his first court entry.
According to the charge affidavit of the DOJ, Obinwanne would stand trial in Norfolk Virginia. He is expected to remain in custody until a trial date is fixed.
“Since he was arrested on a criminal complaint, it means he could be held in custody pending trial. The jury will decide whether to return indictment or not. If they decide to return indictment, he will be presented before a judge to enter a plea. If he pleads guilty, he would be sentenced. If he pleads not guilty, then a trial date will be set,” spokesperson for the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District, Joshua Stueve, as cited by Premium Times.
Last week Friday, Obinwanne Okeke, a Nigerian whom, until his arrest was the founder, CEO and Chairman of the Abuja-based Invictus Group, was arrested by operatives of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI for committing wire frauds of up to $11 million.