Emmanuel Nwude Net Worth In 2024: $242 Million Fraud, Arrest And Imprisonment


Nigerian former bank director, Emmanuel Nwude who pulled off a $242 million fraud

Emmanuel Nwude, a notorious figure in the world of fraud, orchestrated a staggering scam, defrauding a jaw-dropping $242 million by selling a fictitious airport. Despite his tarnished reputation, Nwude’s net worth remains in the multi-million dollar range.

Justice prevailed when Nwude and his partner in crime, Nzeribe Okoli, were found guilty and forced to forfeit their ill-gotten assets to the victims, amounting to a significant $121.5 million.

Even after his release from prison in 2006, Nwude, also known as the Owelle of Abagana, dared to claim at least $52 million of his unlawfully seized assets.

More than two decades after the ‘419 scam’, Emmanuel saw himself in the courthouse again in 2021- he was charged with forging counterfeit property documents during his earlier sentence.

In his defense, the Nigerian-born claimed that the $242 million circulation on his bank account was not from the airport scam. No doubt, this convicted fraudster is a wealthy one.

Quick Facts

Name Emmanuel Nwude Odinigwe
NicknameOwelle of Abagana
BirthplaceAbagana, Nigeria
ProfessionFormer Director of Union Bank of Nigeria
Famous AsFrauding $242 Million
Sexual OrientationStraight
Social MediaN/A

How Much Is Emmanuel Nwude’s Net Worth Now?

As of 2024, there’ve been no words from Nwude about his wealth or acquisitions, but some online sources estimate that he has a net worth of at least $100 million.

Many argue that this hefty fortune could’ve been from his fraud “Abuja Airport” scandal- considered the third-largest bank fraud in history. However, at that time, Emmanuel served as the Director of the Union Bank of Nigeria.

Moreover, according to reports, he was the largest equity holder in Union Bank, holding millions of shares.

Convicted fraud Emmanuel Nwude's net worth is multi-million dollars
Convicted fraud Emmanuel Nwude’s net worth is multi-million dollars (Source: Daily Mail)

So, there is no denying that the fraudster had a chunk of money from his legitimate business before he pulled off one of the greatest frauds.

In 2004, during his arrest, he was considered one of the wealthiest Igbo businessman in Nigeria. He owned a 10-storey building in Lagos and other properties across Nigeria and the United States.

There is no confirmation if his acquisitions were from his earnings or the loot of his $242 million fraud.

Net Worthapprox. $100 million
Primary Income SourceDirector of Bank
AssetsHouse in Lagos, Luxury Cars

Read More: Danny Rensch’s Net Worth In 2024: Insights On Income Source And Earnings

Emmanuel Nwude’s $242 Million Fake Airport Fraud: How Did It Happen?

Nwude, popular as Owelle of Abunuga, with the help of his accomplices, pulled off a history-making fraud after collecting $242 million for a non-existent airport.

It began in 1995 when Emmanuel posed as Paul Ogwuma, then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, to Nelson Sakaguchi, a director of Brazil’s Banco Noroeste, with a project of (fake) airport in Abuja.

His accomplice, Ikechukwu Anajemba, impersonated Rasheed Gomwalk, the CBN’s Director of International Remittance, while Amaka Anajemba posed as Gomwalk’s wife.

Amaka Anajemba aka Nigeria's queen of 419 was an accomplice of Nwude in the $242 million fake airport fraud
Amaka Anajemba, aka Nigeria’s queen of 419, was an accomplice of Nwude in the $242 million fake airport fraud (Source: Twitter)

With expertise in banking operations as a banker and a made-up story, it didn’t take long for Emmanuel (impersonating Mr. Ogwuma) to persuade Sakaguchi to fund his project.

On top of that, the free-fraud expert offered him a $10 million commission.

So, Noroeste’s director didn’t bother to check on the background after a convincing and real-like approach or take an update of the site.

As reported, between 1995 and 1998, Sakaguchi paid $191 million in cash and the remainder in the form of outstanding interest, totaling $242 million, for investment in an airport never meant to be made.

When Did The Truth Of Nwude’s Fraud Come Out? Banco Noroeste Collapse

In December 1997, the Banco Noroeste Brazil had a joint meeting with the Spanish Banco Santander after the latter expressed interest in taking over Noroeste earlier in August.

While reviewing finances, an official from Santander asked why the Noroeste bank’s 2/5th total value and half of their capital were marinating in the Cayman Islands.

Upon further inspection, the reality of the fraud came up, which became the third-largest bank fraud after Nick Leeson’s trading losses at Barings Bank and the looting of the Iraqi Central Bank.

Despite the heavy loss, the Noroeste owners, the Simonsen and Cochrane families, paid $242 million out of their pocket to ensure the bank’s sale to Santander. In 2001, the Banco Noroeste collapsed.

Emmanuel Nwude’s Arrested On Fraud Charges: Bribery And Imprisonment

A year after forming the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nwude was arrested in June 2003 from his residence in Ikoyi, Lagos. In February 2004, he and his accomplices were charged with 86 counts of “fraudulently seeking advance fees” and 15 counts of bribery in the Abuja High Court.

However, they didn’t plead guilty. On top of that, Judge Lawal Gumi dismissed the case, citing the fraudulent incident was not under his jurisdiction; instead, he referred the case to the Lagos High Court to take further procedure.

Emmanuel was on the list of wealthiest businessmen at the time of arrest. As reported, he was a close ally of former vice-president Atiku Abubakar and a major financier of the People’s Democratic Party.

Emmanuel Nwude was sentenced 25 years in prison in 2005 for 86 counts of fraudulent charges
Emmanuel Nwude was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2005 for 86 counts of fraudulent charges (Source: Facebook)

In July 2005, one of his accomplices, Amaka Anajemba, testified against him and admitted to helping him in the fraud, which got her 2.5 years in prison and an order to pay $25.5 million.

Amid his charges on trials, he was linked to some controversial actions like offering a $75,000 bribe to Nuhu Ribadu, the head of EFCC, kidnapping a prosecution witness, and a bomb scarce in September 2005.

A few weeks later, after Nelson Sakaguchi testified as a first-hand witness, Emmanuel and Nzeribe Okoli pled guilty to the fraud charges in Ikeja High Court, in Lagos, to bid for a lighter sentence.

The presiding judge, Joseph Oyewole, sentenced Nwude to 25 years in prison, while Okoli got a sentence of four years.

Also Read: Bandman Kevo Age, Height, Net Worth, Fraud Charges and Arrest

Is He Still In Jail?

After a year of receiving his sentence, Emmanuel Nwude was released from prison in 2006.

In 2016, Emmanuel faced an arrest on charges of being the ringleader for an attack by 2000 people in  Ukpo town, Dunukofia, Nigeria, in August 2016. The riot due to a land dispute led to the death of four police officers and a security guard.

He was detained at Awka Prison in Anambra State on 25 charges, including murder and terrorist attack. Later, on December 8, 2016, he got out on bail.

Also Read: Where Is Colin Strickland Now? Murder Of Ex-Girlfriend After Love Triangle

Property Seized After Arrest

Nwude’s sentence had him pay a fine of $10 million to the Nigerian Federal government while his assets were to be sold to pay the victim. As reported, Emmanuel and Nzeribe forfeited assets worth $121.5 million to allow recovery of the fraudulent amount.

Aside from his Ikoyi, Lagos house, the EFCC seized his ownership of the 10-story building in Lagos, other buildings across Nigeria (he also had properties worth $145 million in the United States and $63.332 million worth of assets in London ), and seven exotic cars.

After his release from prison, Emmanuel filed a lawsuit citing fundamental rights to reclaim his assets and stated that the government seized his other assets acquired before the fraud. 

As reported, the Nigerian former bank director recovered around $52 Million within a few years, and by 2023, his alleged reclaimed amount totaled $167 million.

Read More: Explore the Networth of William Michael Griffin Jr.- An Insight into His Fortune

Emmanuel’s Visit To Court Again In 2021: Denied Source Of $242 Million

On February 25, 2021, Nwude saw himself in the courthouse on 15 charges of forging property documents. 

The charges stated that the convicted fraudster and two lawyers, Emmanuel Ilechukwu and Roland Kalu, tampered with the property documents, which the judge asked him to forfeit to his victims.

During the questionnaire, he denied knowing the source of the $242 million transferred into his bank account.

Even more, Emmanuel Nwude dared to allege that he pled guilty to fraud charges on pressure from his legal team to get a lenient sentence.

Where Is Emmanuel Nwude? What’s His Age Now?

Emmanuel Nwude still lives in his home country, Nigeria. However, further details about his residence are not out.

Some claim that the multi-millionaire advance-fee fraud expert moves back and forth to the USA and UK, where he has properties.

The Nigerian-born Emmanuel has yet to speak about his exact date of birth. In the mid-1990s, he was already working as a bank director. As of now, he is possibly in his late 60s.

In addition, he has remained low-key about his personal life- family and relationships. Many fans query if Nwude has a wife and children, however, no detail on this matter is out.

You May Also Like: Is Michael Corleone Blanco Still Alive? Drug Lord Griselda Blanco’s Son

Did you find this article helpful? Let us know by commenting below or joining us on Facebook and Instagram.

Leave a Comment