The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned a former chairman of Bassa Local Government Area, Kogi state, Musa Gwatana, and three others on a four-count charge of criminal breach of trust and fraud to the tune of N162 million.
The three others arraigned along with Mr.Gwatana before Justice J. J. Majebi of Kogi State High Court, Idah, were Joseph Yenusa, a director in Bassa local government; John Ekele, Treasurer also with Bassa Local Government and Abubakar Adamu, a staff in the works department of the Local Government .
The trio of Gwatana, Ekele and Adamu were alleged to have, between September and December 2008 in Bassa, connived to obtain the sum of N160, 000,000 (one hundred and sixty million naira) from one of the branches of a new generation bank in Lokoja on behalf of Bassa Local Government and diverted the loan into personal use.
The accused persons were also alleged to have diverted the sum of N2, 000,000 (Two Million naira) belonging to Bassa Local Government Council which was part of the money for the purpose of executing a contract for the renovation and furnishing of Bassa Council Hall and Council Leader’s office. The offence is contrary to Section 315 of the Penal Code Law of Kogi state.
The four accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them. The defence counsel, Mr. M. Bala pleaded with the court to grant the accused bail, arguing that Mr. Gwatana, one of the accused persons, has a health challenge which may worsen if bail is denied him. Prosecution counsel, Mr. Ndifon Takon Neji, did not oppose the bail application.
The judge thereafter granted bail in the sum of N5 million each with a surety in like sum. The court further ruled that the surety must have a landed property which must be covered with a Certificate of
Occupancy within the Kogi state judicial division. He adjourned the case till April 25th , 2012, for the substantive trial.
Count one of the four count charges reads that “You, Hon. Musa Gwatana, being a former Chairman of Bassa local Government Council of Kogi State, Joseph Y. Agbo, being a staff of Bassa Local Government council of Kogi State and John Ekele, being a staff of Bassa Local Government Council of Kogi State and Abubakar Adamu, being a staff of Bassa Local Government Council of Kogi State and also carrying on Business under the name and style of ‘Mando Global International’, sometime between September and December 2008 in Bassa within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Kogi State, did conspire among yourselves to do an illegal act, to wit: Criminal Breach of Trust and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law of Kogi State.