Raymond Ekevwo, the reigning African Games 100m champion, four other Nigerian athletes viz Anikeme Etim, Emmanuel Ineh, Toluwani Adebakin and Mercy Abire as well as Zimbabwe’s Ngoni Chadyiwa have been indicted by the USA district court for the Southern district of Mississppi eastern division, Forest County for committing mail and wire fraud.
In the Grand Jury charges, it says the six defendants (athletes) ‘did knowingly combine, conspire, and agree with each other and with other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury to commit offenses against the USA in violation of Title 18, USA Code, Sections 1956 and 1957, to wit:
a.’To transport, transmit, and transfer, and attempt to transport, transmit, and transfer, a monetary instrument or funds involving the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, that is, mail and wire fraud in violation of Title 18, USA, sections 1341 and 1343, from a place inside the USA to and through a place outside of the USA, and from a place outside of the USA to and through a place inside the USA, knowing that the funds involved in the transportation, transmission, and transfer represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity.
The charges also say that the defendants know ‘that such transportation, transmission, and transfer was designed in whole or in part to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the procees of such unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, USA Code, section 1956 (a)(2)(B)(i); and
b. To knowingly engage and attempt to engage in monetary transactions involving criminally derived property of a value greater that $10,000, affecting interstate and foreign commerce, which was derived from specified unlawful activity, that is, mail fraud and wire fraud in violation of Title 18, USA Code, Sections 1341 and 1343, and knowing that the funds represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, USA Code, Section 1957.
Ekevwo returned Nigeria to the podium as African Games champion 12 years after Olusoji Fasuba last did in Algiers.
The then 20 year old Ekevwo ran 9.96 to win the 100m gold at the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco ahead of Arthur Cissé of Ivory Coast (9.97) and another Nigerian, Usheoritse Itsekiri (10.02).
He was also a member of Nigeria’s bronze-winning 4x100m relay team to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.