N800m fraud: EFCC accuses judge of indulging Kogi officials

The accused are being tried for corruption charges

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Wednesday, accused the presiding judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, I. E. Ekwo, of allowing the delay in the prosecution of two former Kogi officials.

The former chairman of Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of Kogi, Gabriel Dauda, and the State’s former Commissioner for Agriculture, Albert Adesina, are being prosecuted on charges of money laundering and criminal misappropriation of public funds of about N800 million.

Initially, the accused persons were arraigned alongside seven other top officials of the Kogi State Government on April 1, 2010 before Adamu Bello, a Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

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

The accused, however, applied and got the case file transferred to the Kogi Division of the Federal High Court.

At the resumed hearing of the case on November 28, counsel to Messrs. Dauda and Adesina, who was supposed to open the 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 witnesses, the two should mount the witness box and be cross-examined.

Mr. Shittu said since the EFCC has successfully prosecuted its case by calling six witnesses and tendered several exhibits, the adjournment, which the accused were seeking, is unnecessary.

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

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”.


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