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N109bn fraud: Court revokes ex-AGF Idris bail

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Justice Yusuf Halilu of an FCT, Maitama, Abuja, on Tuesday revoked the bail earlier granted a former Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and one of the defendants in the trial of over an alleged fraudulent diversion of public fund to the tune of N109.5million.

The defendant, Geoffrey Olusegun Akindele’s bail was revoked by the judge following his non-appearance in court for continuation of trial.

Mr Akindele, who is the second defendant in the case marked, CR/199/2022, and Idris are standing trial alongside Mohammed Kudu Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.

The Economic and financial crimes commission, EFCC, dragged them to court on a 14-count charge bordering on stealing, fraudulent diversion of public fund to the tune of N109.5 billion.

Idris, among others, was alleged to have between February and December 2021, while being a public servant by virtue of his position as Accountant-General of the Federation accepted from Olusegun Akindele, the second defendant, a gratification of the aggregate sum of N15, 136, 221, 921.46, which was converted to dollars equivalent by Akindele.

The money, according to the prosecution, did not form part of Idris’s remuneration but a motive for accelerating the payment of 13% derivation to nine oil producing states in the federation through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

EFCC alleged they thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 155 of the Penal Code Act Cap 533 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and punishable under the same section.

Messrs Idris and Akindele, who was Technical Assistant to the Accountant-General of the Federation, were accused of committing criminal breach of trust while being entrusted with certain property, to wit N84,390,000,000 between Feb. and Nov. 2021 by dishonestly receiving the said amount from the Federal Government through Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, trading under the name and style of Olusegun Akindele & Co.

By this, according to EFCC, the first and second defendants were alleged to have committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the anti-corruption commission.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, Mr Akindele was absent in court as of the time the case was called, though Idris and Usman were in court.

Despite pleas by counsel for Mr Akindele, S.E. Adino that his client was on the way to court, submitting that he (Akindele) has always been in court to face trial, Justice Halilu insisted on revoking the second defendant’s bail.

The judge held that after listening to what Adino said, when a court grants a defendant bail, such person must reciprocate the gesture by attending court for trial.

He added that, Mr Akindele had clearly not shown good character and conduct by his refusal to attend court.

”The second defendant had abuse the terms of his bail.”

Mr Halilu subsequently revoked his bail and ordered the FCT Commissioner of Police and the EFCC to arrest Mr Akindele and produce him in court in the next adjourned date.

He then adjourned the case until February 1, 2024 for definite hearing.

Earlier, the prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, had informed the court that the prosecution received a letter from counsel for Idris and did not receive any from the counsel for Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.

Mr Atolagbe said despite the fact that there were competent lawyers in the office of Idris’ lawyer, none of them announced appearance for the former Accountant-General of the Federation.

He added that he saw two lawyers from the office yesterday morning in court, saying that, “This is not fair on the prosecution. It is definitely a ploy to delay trial.”

NAN

 

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