The former SSG will be remanded in prison.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday arraigned a former Secretary to the Government of Edo State, SSG, Simon Imuekeme, and three others before the Edo High Court on an eight-count charge that borders on diversion of N113 million allocated for a particular project in the state.
Those arraigned with Mr. Imuekeme before Justice Esther Edigin were a former Chairman of the Universal Basic Education Board, Joseph Eboamina; Secretary, David Igbinoba; and Director of Finance and Accounts, Agbator Efe.
They were accused of fraudulently diverting the said sum to a project not covered by the intervention funds allocated by the State UBEC.
The Commission said the offence was contrary to Section 22(5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and engaging in criminal conspiracy to commit an offence contrary to section (26) (1) (c) of the same Act.”
One of the charges reads, “that you Joseph Sule Emoabino, David Eson Igbinoba, Aghator Gaskin Efe and Dr. Simon Imuekeme being chairman, secretary, director of finance and accounts of State Universal Basic Education Board, Edo State and secretary to government of Edo State respectively, on or about the 5th of June, 2012 in Benin within the jurisdiction of Edo State High Court, spent the sum of N16,853,242.58 (Sixteen Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty Two Naira, Fifty Eight Kobo) for construction of perimeter wall fence in Ivbiore Primary School Ugbor, a project not covered by the intervention funds allocated by the State Universal Basic Education Commission/state government and thereby committed an offence.”
When the charges were read to the accused persons, they all pleaded not guilty.
The counsel to EFCC, Aso Peters, subsequently asked the court to fix a date for trial.
Attempt by counsel to the 4th accused to move for bail on behalf of his client was rejected by the judge who said she wanted to take all the applications together.
Also, prayers by all the defence counsel to allow the accused persons to continue on the administrative bail granted them by EFCC was opposed by EFCC counsel on the grounds that the bail granted to the accused persons by the Commission elapsed the moment they appeared before the court.
Justice Edigin ordered the accused persons to be remanded in prison and adjourned the matter to March 14 for hearing on the bail application.