American businessman sues 5 Nigerians to court over N6.6 billion fraud

An American contractor, Montia Rice, who runs a construction company, has approached a federal high court in Lagos to renew a suit in which he previously obtained judgement awarding him N6.6 billion in 2000.

Mr Rice said he was duped by Nigerians when they contacted him to execute a contract that turns out to be non-existent.

Mr Rice said he transferred the money to the alleged scammers from his UK account to a Standard Trust Bank now United Bank of Africa (UBA).

When Mr Rice eventually realized he had been duped, he sued the scammers to a court but none of the alleged scammers appeared in court for judgement.

Premium Times reported that Mr Rice listed the names of the defendants as Fred Ajudua, Jude Okwudili, Dr Annuni, Sam Opara, Mamo Feda and Wags Digiteme.

The judge in charge of the case, Dan Abutu, awarded Mr Rice the sum of N21,821,228 (about N6.6 billion).

The money was never paid due to several circumstances including the death of the lawyer representing Mr Rice.

Mr Rice also said he had to run away from Nigeria after he started receiving death threats from the defendants.

The plaintiff, Mr Rice is now back in court to seek new judgement against the defendants.

He is also praying for leave to apply for the issuance of writ of execution of the judgment delivered by Mr Abutu.

In a supporting affidavit, Mr Akindele said no further steps were taken since the judgment and death of Mr Rice’s former attorney.

Mr Akindele said: “The Honourable Court only set aside the judgment delivered against the first defendant while both final and interlocutory judgments delivered against the second to seventh defendants are still subsisting.”

The judge asked the lawyer why they had waited for 17 years after the judgement was delivered before coming for enforcement.

The lawyer responded that his client had unsuccessfully sought to enforce the judgment but had to run for his life after receiving several threats to his life, adding that his then lawyer died under “mysterious” circumstances.

The plaintiff also prayed for an extension of time within which to apply to take further steps in compliance with the judgment, and an order allowing Rice to take the steps towards recovering the sum.

The case has been adjourned to March 8, 2017 for hearing.

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