N800m Fraud: EFCC Accuses Court of Indulging Kogi Officials

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on November 28, 2012, accused the presiding judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, Justice I. E. Ekwo of condoning the antics of the duo of Gabriel Dauda and Albert Soje Adesina, former chairman of Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of Kogi State and Commissioner for Agriculture, Kogi state respectively, designed to delay their prosecution.

The duo was arraigned on April 1, 2010 alongside seven other top officials of the Kogi State government before Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, on charges of money laundering and criminal misappropriation of public funds to the tune of over N800million.

One of the charge against the accused persons reads: “Gabriel Dauda while being the Caretaker, and Chairman of Ogori Magongo local Government of Kogi State and Albert Soje Adesina while being the Commissioner for Agriculture, Kogi State, about 2004 in Kogi State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, conspired between themselves to do an illegal act by involving in money laundering and criminal misappropriation of public fund to the tune of over N800million”.

They had pleaded not guilty to all the charges read to them and were granted bail in the sum of N100 million, with one surety each, who must be Nigerian of honest and reasonable character, reside in Abuja and own land worth N100 million.

The accused however applied and got the case file transferred to Kogi division of the Federal High court.

At the resumed hearing of the case on November 28, 2012 Dauda and Adesina who were supposed to open their defence, following the closure of the case by the prosecution told the court that they needed more time as five of their witnesses were not in court.

But the prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu, told the court that since the two accused persons were the principal witness among the defence witnesses, the two should mount the witness box and be cross examined.  According to Shittu, since the EFCC has successfully prosecuted its case by calling six witnesses and tendered several exhibits, the adjournment which the accused were seeking was unnecessary.

The judge, in spite the argument by the prosecution counsel, adjourned the case till December 4, 2012.


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