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EFCC presents witnesses against Benue lawmakers in alleged N50.2m fraud

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Court acquits psychiatrists accused of stealing, fixes Nov 15 for ruling on Mompha case

Trial of the Deputy Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly (BSHA), Christopher Adaji, and Clerk of the House, Torese Agena, in alleged fraud of N50.2m continued yesterday before Justice S. O. Itodo of the state High Court in Makurdi.

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The Makurdi Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been prosecuting Adaji and Agena for abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds amounting to N50.2m for which they pleaded not guilty.

Prosecution counsel, George Chia-Yakua, presented two witnesses namely: Clifford Tyover Attle and Ifa Celestine Mbakaa as first and second prosecution witnesses.

Led in evidence by Chia-Yakua, the first witness, Attle told the court that he had been working for the BSHA for three years, which engaged him in processing of travel documents for members on a working visit and training to the United Kingdom (UK).

He disclosed that he processed the travel documents in conjunction with the Foreign Affairs Ministry and that while executing the contract, he requested for advance payment from Agena for his general manager, who was processing the travel documents.

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Also testifying, Mbakaa, told the court that the House secured approvals to embark on a legislative tour of UK and Belgium and that advance payment of N50m was made to High Profile Investment Limited, owned by Attle, who was a resource person to the legislators.

He further disclosed that he had Agena’s instruction to deduct N200,000 and transfer it to the general manager of High Profile Investment Limited.

Their testimonies and previous statements were tendered in court and admitted as exhibits before Justice Itodo adjourned the matter to October 27, 2020, for further hearing.

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BESIDES, the Enugu State Magistrates’ Court has discharged and acquitted two Consultant Psychiatrists of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Dr. McDonald Inechi, and Dr. Kingsley Ugwuonye, who was accused of forgery and stealing from a deceased colleague.

The state Police Command had arraigned the two doctors before Chief Magistrate J. I. Agu of the Enugu North Magisterial district for allegedly stealing N700,000 belonging to Ozor Stephen, brother to the late Dr. Ozor Obinna by forging his signature in a purported acknowledgment letter.

They were also accused of stealing N1.030m belonging to the late Obinna, who worked at the hospital, but they pleaded not guilty on each of the four counts charge and were granted bail in the sum of N300,000 and one surety each in like sum.

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During the proceeding, the Magistrate had advised Chief Ozor to settle the matter out-of-court before yesterday’s sitting or the court would commence the trial, to which the complainant agreed, leading to the acquittal of the accused persons.

MEANWHILE, Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court, Lagos fixed November 15, 2020, for ruling on the ‘no case submission’ filed by suspected Internet fraudster, Ismail Mustapha, popularly called Mompha, who has been standing trial over alleged N32.9b fraud.

The judge fixed the date after hearing the arguments of counsel to the parties in a suit filed by the EFCC.

Mompha’s counsel, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) led Ademola Adefolaju, Kolawole Salami to file a no-case submission after the EFCC called 10 witnesses to testify in a 22 count-charge against Monpha and his firm, Ismalob Global Investments Limited in the matter.

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