A lawyer, Ademola Adefolaju, on Friday withdrew his legal services an American, Marco Ramirez, who allegedly defrauded five Nigerians of $1.5 million in a Green Card scam.
Adefolaju on Friday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court that Ramirez failed to pay his legal fees.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charged Ramirez with defrauding two Nigerians: Gabriel Edeoghon and Oludare Talabi.
The EFCC alleged that Ramirez, who has two other criminal cases before the Special Offences Court, is a prolific con artist.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, Adefolaju told the court he had filed notice of withdrawal of his service as defence counsel in the case.
He said: “My lord, we have before the court a notice of withdrawal brought pursuant to Section 234(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Lagos State.
“We hereby withdraw from the case.
“Our brief has not yet been perfected by the defendant.”
Adefolaju also told the court that he would not be moving the application for the bail of Ramirez who had been remanded in the custody of the EFCC.
Reacting to the claim of the defence counsel, Samuel Daji, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, denied being served a copy of the notice of withdrawal.
Daji said: “I was not served a copy of their application even the counter-affidavit to their bail application was served on them two days ago.
“This is a ploy to delay the trial.”
Justice Mojisola Dada said that the notice of withdrawal was immature because she noticed it was served on the prosecution the previous day instead of three days prior as required by law.
“The defendant has 30 days to get another counsel of his choice to defend himself,” Dada said.
Upon hearing that the trial will be adjourned for another month, the American pleaded with the court.
Ramirez said: “I have been in EFCC custody for nine months.
“I ask forgiveness from the court and the complainants who are present in court.
“I have been arrested nine times and I have had charges brought against me five times.
“I have appointed attorneys for my trials in Abuja who can come down to Lagos next week to defend me.”
Upon hearing the plea of the American, Justice Dada adjourned the case.
“This case is adjourned to Wednesday, November 13 for trial on the plea of the defendant,” she said.
NAN reports that Ramirez is standing trial alongside his companies: US Now LLC and Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP.
According to Daji, the defendant committed the alleged offences in 2013 and 2014 in Lagos.
He alleged that the defendant received $291,290 on three occasions between May 22 and July 26, 2013 from Edeoghon.
The American was also alleged to have received on six occasions between Februasry 28, 2014 and April 17, 2014, $97,549 from Talabi.
Daji said: “He falsely represented to the defendants that the funds were investments into his companies in the Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) United States of America Investor Programme.
“Ramirez also falsely informed the complainants that their investments will qualify them to be eligible for a USA Green Card.
“The offence contravenes Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act.”
The defendant, in the second suit, is alleged to have defrauded three Nigerians: Ambassador Godson Echejue, Abubakar Umar and Olukayode Sodimu of $1.2 million.