Operatives of the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, have arrested a former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Charles Ugwu, for alleged conspiracy and loan fraud to the tune of N3.6 billion.
Late President Umaru Yar’Adua appointed Ugwu as a minister. He was however sacked after a cabinet reshuffle which affected 19 other ministers.
A statement by the EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, on Monday, said the ex-minister was arrested with Chief Geoffrey Ekenma on January 11, 2024, at No.2, Musa Yar Adua Way, New Owerri, Imo State.
Ugwu and Ekenma’s arrest was said to have followed “a petition to the commission from a new generation bank on the alleged fraud perpetrated through a company, Ebony Agro Industries Ltd., linked to the ex-minister.
According to the statement, “Investigations revealed that Ugwuh and Ekenma, Managing Director, Ebony Agro Industries Ltd., allegedly obtained a loan facility from the bank for the purchase and production of polished rice.
“However, the suspect, according to the petitioner, failed to meet his obligations to the bank, and all efforts to get him to repay the loan facility proved abortive. The suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.”
Recall that in 2020, Ugwu was elected chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State. He returned unopposed as other aspirants from the Okigwe zone, where the position was zoned to, stepped down for him.
But three years after his election as the party chairman, he was suspended over alleged misconduct.