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IMT ex-rector arraigned for alleged N83m fraud




FORMER Rector of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu, Prof. Edwin Onyeneje, has been arraigned before a Federal High Court, Enugu Division for alleged fraud of N83m.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) arraigned Prof. Onyeneje and Dr. Leonard Ugwu on a seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by tricks, while in office as the Rector of the school.

Arraigned alongside the former rector were Ferdinand Onah and Basil Offoh, who allegedly aided the fraud.

The amount was said to have been for procurement of scientific equipment in preparation for re-accreditation of some programmes in the institution. Offoh was accused of aiding and abetting the release of N50m when he served as Administrative Secretary to the school.

Ugwu, who served as the Chief Store Officer, of the institution allegedly released N53.2m for a project that was not executed. The offences contravened Sections 8 (a) and 1 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read.

The defence Counsel, Mr Benedict Chijioke objected to the arraignment, contending that there was a judicial panel of the inquiry on the matter that had made a pronouncement.

“If we allow a situation where a court is sitting and the ICPC is doing whatever they are doing, it means independence of the judiciary is just a robot,” he said.
Chijioke told the court that the accused persons were already on administrative bail of the ICPC and would always attend their trials.

In her ruling, Justice Dugbo Oghoghorie, said that the administrative bail of the accused would continue, adjourning the matter to April 14 for the hearing of the preliminary objection raised by the defence.

It would be recalled that former governor Sullivan Chime had at the twilight of his tenure, inaugurated a judicial panel of the inquiry on the IMT over allegations of fraud.

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