By Paul Obi in Abuja
The trial of Johnson Kolawole, a staff of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ayodele O. Omolayo, Head of Operations, First Bank Plc, Ikorodu Branch, and one Adeniji Bisiru Adekunle, continuedÂ before Justice Uthman Musa of High Court 18 of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Jabi, Abuja.
According to ICPC Spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, “the accused persons are facing prosecution by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for criminal conspiracy, abuse of office and use of forged documents.
“The defendants had been arraigned on 11 counts in a charge No: FCT/HC/CR/18/2008 for furnishing a false return to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) by concealing the receipt of a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cheque No: 00001902 and a Zenith Bank cheque No: 0000468 issued by the National Population Commission for unspent funds for the year 2007 which were to be paid back to the Federation account, and cloning as well as clearing the said cheques to defraud the Federal Government of the sum of N84,499,636.99.
She explained that “they were accused of withdrawing various sums of money at different times and purchasing 11,800 bags of rice from Olam Nigeria Limited with the cloned cheques.
“Two witnesses, referred to as Prosecution Witness 7 and 8 (PW 7 & 8), gave testimonies as trial resumed on the matter. PW8 was led in evidence via examination-in-chief by ICPCâ€™s counsel, John Paul Okwor, while PW 7 gave his evidence when he was being cross-examined by the defence lawyer, Mr. A.O. Amao.
“The testimonies of the witnesses corroborated the allegations in the charge that the money was stolen in tranches using the CBN and Zenith Bank cloned cheques issued by the National Population Commission in favour of the Sub-Treasurer of the Federation.
“The accused personsâ€™ actions are contrary to sections 13, 16, 17, 24, 26 and punishable under sections 13, 16, 17, 19, 24 and 68 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.They had pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them and that set the tone for the trial to commence.
“After the testimonies of the witnesses, the trial judge adjourned the case to 26th June, 2017 for cross-examination of PW8 by the defence counsel.”