- EFCC has arraigned former head of NSITF and four other people before Justice Silvanus Orji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja
- They were arraigned on a 26-count charge bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and illegal diversion of public funds
- Justice Orji of the court, however, granted the accused people bail
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has arraigned Umar Abubakar, Henry Sambo, Adebayo Aderibigbe, Richard Uche and Aderemi Adegboyega before Justice Silvanus Orji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo, Abuja.
They were on Thursday, November 23, arraigned on a 26-count charge, bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and illegal diversion of public funds.
A statement by the head of the media and publicity of the EFCC Wilson Uwujaren said the suspects allegedly received ”kickbacks in dollars in the discharge of their duties, and conspired to divert the about N18 billion”.
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The statement read: ''The trouble started for Abubakar, who was a former managing director of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, and co-defendants, some of who were former board members and current staff of NSITF when a complainant wrote a petition to the commission, alleging that the accused people have been abusing their positions in their office thereby cornering public funds in billions.
''In the light of this, the operatives of the EFCC swiftly swung into action and after thorough investigations were carried out, revelations show that apart from receiving benefits in dollars from people to do favours while discharging their official duties, between 2012 to 2015, the accused persons allegedly conspired and diverted the sum of Eighteen billion Naira (N18,000,000,000), being contribution from the federal government of Nigeria as take-off grants and Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) for Ministries Departments and Agencies.
''The said money was diverted into personal accounts by an e-payment mandate. The offence contravenes Section 311 of the penal code cap 532 LFN (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under Section 312 of the same code. The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them. ''
In view of their pleas, counsel to the EFCC, Steve Odiase, urged the court to fix a date for trial and to remand the accused persons in prison custody pending trial.
However, counsels to the defendants, J. K Kolawole, Napoleon O. Idenala, J. A. Kalu, J. C. Njikonye and Obafemi Adewale, made their various bail applications and prayed the court to grant the defendants bail on liberal terms.
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Consequently, Justice Orji granted the accused people bail and warned that anyone who fails to fulfil his bail application, shall be remanded in prison custody.
The judge ruled: ''Each of the defendants is admitted to bail in the sum of N50million with two sureties in like sum. The two sureties shall be ordinarily residents in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.’’
He further ruled that one of the sureties must be a civil servant of at least the level of a director.
The accused persons were also warned not to leave the country without the permission of the court. The matter was adjourned to February 5, 2018, for trial
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that Ishaq Salihu, the zonal head of operations of the EFCC in Rivers state charged students across the country to always question their parents about sudden and un-earned riches.
Salihu gave the charge on Thursday, November 23, while admonishing students of Bishop Crowther Memorial secondary school, Rumuobiakani, Port Harcourt area of the state.
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