The former Director of Finance, Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Yusuf Agabi, was on Wednesday arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission for allegedly diverting N715million.
Mr. Agabi and four others are standing trial before Justice Husseini-Baba Yusuf of the FCT High Court, Abuja.
The other accused persons are: Akpore Okeroghere, Agabi’s former deputy; Abibu Ayinla; Anthony Adewale and Ntu Ngozi, all staff of the ministry.
They were arraigned on a 41-count charge which centred on conspiracy, forgery and fraud.
The charge read: “That you, Yusuf Agabi did conspire and presented to your principal, documents which were defective in material and designed to mislead him for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining various sums of money.”
The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Earlier, counsel to ICPC, Paul Bassi, told the court that Mr. Agabi sometime in December 2013 conspired with one Farouk and diverted N100 million belonging to the ministry.
Mr. Bassi said that the offence contravened the provisions of Section 13 and punishable under Section 68 of the ICPC Act 2000.
He asked the court to fix a date to enable the prosecution present witnesses in view of the accused persons’ plea.
In their submissions, defence counsel urged the court to grant their clients bail on liberal terms.
The application was, however, not opposed by the prosecution.
The judge granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N10 million each.
He said the accused persons must each produce a surety not less than a deputy director in the Federal Civil Service and resident in Abuja.
The judge also directed that the accused persons deposit their international passports with the registrar of the court.
He adjourned the case till October 7 for hearing