Lawyer Arraigned in Court over N2.4m Fraud
Ibrahim Oyewale, Lokoja
A legal practitioner, Chukwueze Ewerem has been dragged before the Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital for complicity in a N2.4 million fraud.
In a press statement issued by the Information Officer ,Saeed Saqid copy of which was made available to journalists in Lokoja on Thursday .
He was arraigned on 25th November, 2022 on alleged offence of fraud bordering on criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and forgery. The crimes were allegedly perpetuated against the Judiciary of the state.
He was charged alongside two others, Samuel Adeola and Alfa Umar, both staff of the court’s Process Unit under the Litigation Directorate, while some others were said to still be at large.
They all pleaded not guilty to.the three count charge pressed against them which are punishable under sections of the state’s penal code.
The offences reeled by the prosecution counsel are “criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant using as genuine forged document and causing disappearance of evidence contrary to sections 97(2), 314, 366 and 167 of the Kogi State Penal Code”.
The case is an offshoot of the discovery of the fraud of N2.4m in revenue that should have been due to the High Court of the state which was however reportedly diverted into private accounts. The crime was reported to have been orchestrated through a syndicate that has been steadily used to defraud and deny the third arm of government revenues due to her.
In line with the CJ’s vow to
sanction and hand over anybody, whether staff or members of the public found wanting in the crime to the police for necessary legal action, the matter was reported at the Kogi State Command of the Nigeria Police which quickly swung into action and subsequently took the defendants to court upon completion of investigation.
After the charge was read to them, the defendants who were respectively represented by counsels pleaded not guilty to the offences levelled against them.
According to the Prosecution counsel, G. O. Otowu, the crime was committed around 25th of October, 2022 in Lokoja within the jurisdiction of the Court. The charge states that the defendants
fraudulently diverted the sum of N2.4m meant to be paid to the Kogi State Judiciary, criminally agreed with others now at large to do an act to wit criminal breach of trust by a clerk or servant, cheating using as genuine a forged document, including bank tellers and official stamp that they criminally used to defraud the Kogi State Judiciary “
The defendants were however granted bail by the court after the presiding Magistrate, Musa Mopah, considered their application.
“I am of the opinion that the application has merit. I admit the three defendants to bail in the sum of N400,000 each and a surety each in like sum. Two recent passport photographs of surety be lodged at the registry of the court. The surety should each deposit original title documents with statutory Right of Occupancy of land situate at Lokoja and must have a fixed and traceable address. He should depose to an affidavit of means. Both defendants and their sureties are to avail the registry of the court their bank account numbers and BVN.”
Also, the asked both defendants and sureties to be reporting at the registry of the court every Monday and Friday throughout the pendency of the case.
The case was thereafter adjourned to 7th December, 2022 for continuation of hearing while the defendants were conditionally released after perfecting their bail bonds.