By Dulue Mbachu

Lagos, Nigeria - A court convicted a Nigerian woman of helping defraud a Brazilian bank of $242-million in the West African country's biggest international scam case, sentencing her to prison and ordering her to repay $25.5-million with cash and other assets.

Amaka Anajemba, a widow charged in February 2004 along with four men for defrauding Banco Noroeste of Sao Paolo, Brazil, was convicted on Friday. Judge Joseph Oyewole gave Anajemba a two-year prison sentence and ordered her to surrender houses in Nigeria, the United States, Britain and Switzerland to help repay the bank.

According to court papers, Anajemba helped her late husband, Ikechukwu Anajemba, in a fraud ring that tricked a top employee of the Brazilian bank into siphoning millions to overseas accounts on the promise of $13.4-million kickbacks from a bogus Nigerian airport contract.

In all, the bank was reportedly fleeced of some $242-million over seven years until 2001.

The trial of her co-defendants, who have pleaded innocent to their charges, was postponed to September 13. - Sapa-AP