EFCC arraigns ex-Kogi Governor, Audu, over N10bn fraud

Former Governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu

Audu and his co-accused pleaded not guilty. 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday arraigned the former Governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, alongside a former Director General of the Directorate of Rural Development in his administration, Alfa Ibn Mustapha, before an Abuja Court.

The men were arraigned on a 36-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds of about N11 billion before Justice A.O. Adeniyi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Mr. Audu and his co-accused pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them, prompting the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, to request a date for the commencement of trial.

One of the charges read, “That you Prince Abubakar Audu and Alfa Ibn Mustapha between 2000 and 2002 at Abuja in the Abuja judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory while being the governor of Kogi state and Director General of Kogi State Directorate of Rural Development respectively and in such capacities entrusted with dominion over certain property, to wit, an aggregated sum of N2, 877, 487,690.88 meant for rural development in Kogi State committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said sum which you falsely claim to be payment made to Aresanmi Technical Industries Limited in respect of the contract allegedly awarded Kogi State Directorate of Rural Development to the said Aresanmi Technical Industries Limited and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code, CAP 532, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.”

The counsel to the first accused, Mike Ozekhome, asked the court to allow his client to return home on bail pending trial. He argued that the accused would be available for trial and would not jump bail. Counsel to the second accused, Orji Nwafor Orizu, also made the same plea for bail saying the two accused have been on administrative bail. But prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, opposed the oral application, insisting that a formal application should be presented before the court.

Justice Adeniyi however granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of N100million and a surety in like sum. The surety must have a property within the jurisdiction of the court with proof of ownership. The surety must also produce evidence of tax payment for the past 3 years, and must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court.

The judge adjourned the case to May 2 and 3 for trial.

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