Symbol of justice
By Adebiyi Adedapo
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Abuja Tuesday remanded three accounts members of staff of Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) over allegations of fraud, forgery and fraudulent conversion of funds of the Commission to the tune of over N109 million. .
The accused, Hassan Mohammed Tukur, Babatunde Abisuga and Mohammed Ndakupe, all pleaded not guilty to all the 12 charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Prosecution counsel, Sylvannus Tahir, then asked the court for a date for the commencement of trial while urging the court to remand the accused persons in prison as EFCC detention facilities were no longer available.
Counsel to the accused persons, M.A. Ebuka prayed the court to grant the accused persons bail on lenient terms as they have been on EFCC’s administrative bail and that bail was discretionary.
In her ruling, Justice Maryam Anennih directed that the bail application for the accused persons be heard on Thursday April 5, 2012; and remanded them in Kuje prison.
The commission also arraigned one Vera Johnson before Justice Ibrahim M. Buka of another High Court of FCT, Abuja. Johnson was arraigned on a four-count charge of obtaining the sum of N12,000,000 from one Obiageli Obidiaso under false pretence of securing a plot of land for her in Wuye District, Abuja .
She was also accused of issuing a dud cheque using her registered non-governmental organisation, (NGO), Global Network for Anti-Corruption Initiative’s account name in the sum of N4,000,000.
Prosecution counsel, Salisu Majidadi, said one of the offences against the accused person was committed contrary to section 1(1) (a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other fraud related Offences Act,2006 and punishable under section 1 (3) of the same Act.
Additional charges were brought under section 1(1) (b) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act Cap D11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 1 (1) (b) (i) of the same Act. She pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Johnson’s ordeal, according to a statement signed by the Acting Head, Media & Publicity of the EFCC, WilsonUwujaren, started sometime in 2010 when she was introduced to her victim as a socialite who knew her way round the Federal Capital Development Authority, the Abuja Municipal Area Council and Abuja Geographic Information Service, and could facilitate the acquisition of land within the shortest time possible.
It was after her inability to facilitate the procurement of the said land that she was reported to the EFCC. Further investigation revealed she had several of such allegations against her which led to her arrest. An attempt by her counsel, Steve I. Imokhe, to move an application for bail was opposed by the prosecution counsel on the grounds that he needed time to study and respond to the application and that the suspect had jumped an administrative bail earlier granted her by the EFCC.
The presiding Judge adjourned the case till April 4th, 2012 for hearing of the application for bail.