Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode has defended Air Peace Limited Chairman, Allen Onyema, saying he is not a rogue or a fraudster.
The U.S Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Georgia had on Friday accused Air Peace Chief, Onyema of money laundering, bank fraud and financial scams, according to a statement released.
The statement also indicated that Onyema, along with his airline’s Chief of administration and finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha has been charged to court, implying that they may have been arrested in the US.
“Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, 56, of Lagos, Nigeria, and Ejiroghene Eghagha, 37, of Lagos, Nigeria, were indicted on November 19, 2019, on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit credit application fraud, and three counts of credit application fraud. Additionally, Onyema was charged with 27 counts of money laundering, and Eghagha was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft”, the statement said.Onyema and Eghagha were accused of moving more than $20million from Nigeria through US banks in a scheme ‘involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes”.
The two Air Peace chiefs were investigated by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Commerce, and Department of Treasury.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Garrett L. Bradford, Deputy Chief of the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section and Lead Strike Force Attorney, Irina K. Dutcher, and Christopher J. Huber, Deputy Chief of the Complex Frauds Section, are prosecuting the case, with assistance from the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Office of International Affairs.
Reacting to the development, Fani-Kayode said the an indictment was not a conviction and that an allegation remained a mere allegation until it was proven in a court of law.
He wrote on his twitter handle: “An indictment is not a conviction. An allegation remains a mere allegation until it is proven in a court of law.
“Allen Onyema is not a rogue or a fraudster. He is a profoundly good man and a patriot. I have no doubt that he will weather this storm and that he will be vindicated.”