Another REA staff faces trial for alleged ₦1.85 billion fraud

The total of the proceeds of fraud shared by all the accused officials was to the tune of ₦1.85 billion.

Another REA staff  faces trial for alleged ₦1.85 billion fraud

Okojie was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) before Justice Emeka Nwite on a four-count charge.

When the matter was called, ICPC’s lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, informed the court that the matter was scheduled for Okojie to take her plea. The anti-corruption commission lawyer applied that the June 6 bench warrant be vacated against him since the defendant was in court and Justice Nwite granted the request.

After the four-count charge was read to her, Okojie pleaded not guilty and Akponimisingha applied for a trial date. But Okojie’s lawyer, Ishiaku Garba, told the court that a bail application had been filed and served on the prosecution on June 11.

Akponimisingha said though the application was served in his office on Tuesday, he only saw it on Thursday and would need time to respond.

“My lord, on June 12 was a public holiday and I couldn’t have come to office,” he said.

He said he should be allowed to respond in the interest of fair hearing. The judge agreed that the prosecution should be allowed to respond to the bail plea. Justice Nwite, who ordered Okojie to be remanded in Suleja Correctional Centre, adjourned the hearing of the bail application until June 20 and fixed July 10 for trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Nwite had, on June 6, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Okojie, Musa Karaye and Emmanuel Pada for failure to appear in court for their arraignment.

The judge gave the order after Akponimisingha moved an oral application to the effect. He then fixed Okojie’s matter until today for ICPC to produce her in court, while Karaye and Panda’s cases were fixed for June 13 (Thursday).

The ICPC had preferred separate four-count charges against the affected officials, including Usman Ahmed Kwakwa, over allegations of misappropriation of public funds meant for the provision of electricity to rural communities across the country.

In the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/203/24, Okojie was alleged to have in count one, sometime in March 2023 or thereabout, with intent to defraud the REA, received the sum of ₦342 million in different tranches through her Access Bank Account: 0009022275 under the false pretence of project supervision.

The offence is said to be contrary to Section 1(1)(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. NAN reports that the total of the proceeds of fraud shared by all the accused officials was to the tune of ₦1.85 billion.

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