REA Director, Sambo Arraigned on Alleged N1.8bn Fraud

* Gets N200m bail, three others N150m

Alex Enumah in Abuja

A Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Abubakar Abdullahi Sambo, was on Monday, arraigned before Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of a Federal High Court in Abuja, on charges bordering on fraud and corruption.

Sambo, who is the Payment Finalizer on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System platform of REA, was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a three-count charge bordering on alleged conferment of undue advantage on some persons, as well as making payment of over N1.8 billion without authorization.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and after taking his bail application, the judge admitted him to bail in the sum of N200 million.

Meanwhile, another judge of the Federal High Court also in Abuja, Justice Emeka Nwite, has admitted three members of staff of the REA to bail in the sum of N50 million each.

They were arraigned last week for their alleged complicity in an alleged REA electricity project supervision fraud to the tune of over N1 billion.

The three defendants are Umar Musa Karaye, Emmanuel Titus and Henrrietta Okojie.

As part of the conditions to their bail, the court directed them to produce two sureties, one of which must own landed properties in the FCT.

According to the charge, Karaye was alleged to have diverted the sum of N165 million, while Titus and Henrietta were accused of diverting the sums of N261 million  and N342 million respectively.

ICPC claimed that the defendants had received various sums of the monies in different tranches through their respective bank accounts under the false pretence of project supervision on behalf of REA.

Sambo was said to have made illegal payments without authorization.

The anti-graft agency alleged the defendants committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

The Advance Fee Fraud prescribes seven years imprisonment for anyone convicted of obtaining property by false pretence, especially when there is proven intent to defraud an institution, company or individual.

Furthermore, the ICPC alleged that the action of the defendants is “contributing to the economic adversity of the Rural Electrification Agency and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 68 of the Public Enterprise Regulatory Commission Act, CAP. P39, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The matter before Nwite has been adjourned till July 10, 2024 for trial, while that before Justice Olajuwon has been fixed for October 17, 2024 also for trial.

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