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Absence of senator, businessman in court stalls arraignment


• EFCC arraigns 24 Internet fraud suspects
senator Albert Bassey and a businessman, Olajide Jones Omokore’s arraignment over an alleged bribe of 12 cars worth N254 million was stalled yesterday due to their absence in court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had scheduled to arraign the duo before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos but they failed to appear in court.

The EFCC alleged that Bassey 45, who represents Akwa-Ibom North-East senatorial district, received the vehicles between 2010 and 2014 from Omokore, when he (Bassey) served as Commissioner for Finance.

Bassy and Omokore were slammed with 14-count charges bordering on corruption.When the matter came up for hearing, Omokore’s counsel, Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN), informed the court of a pending application, which he said bordered on jurisdiction. He noted that the EFCC had filed a response to the application, which was served on them on November 23, 2018.

“We are willing to move on with the application, there is no way I can just gloss over the prosecution’s response, which was just served on us,” Adejuyigbe said. Responding, the prosecution counsel, M. S Abubakar, argued that the defendants should have appeared in court for their arraignment before filing the application.

Meanwhile, the EFCC Ibadan Office has arraigned 24 students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye and National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) for alleged involvement in cyber crimes and Internet fraud.

Acting spokesman to the EFCC, Tony Orilade, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja disclosed that 10 of the defendants were arraigned on Monday, December 10, 2018 before Justice Ibrahim Watilat of the Federal High Court II sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, while 14 others, were arraigned on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 before Justice M. S. Abubakar of the Federal High Court 1, Abeokuta.

He said the defendants, who pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them, were arraigned on separate charges bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, impersonation and possession of fraudulent documents.

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EFCCOlajide Jones Omokore
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