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EFCC arraigns Benue Assembly deputy speaker, clerk over alleged N5m fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the Deputy Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Christopher Adaji, and the Clerk of the house, Torese Agena, before Justice S. O. Itodo, of the Benue State High Court, Makurdi, over alleged N5M million fraud.

A statement by Dele Oyewale, Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, said the Makurdi Zonal Office of the commission arraigned them on Wednesday, June 17.

He said they were arraigned for their complicity in an alleged fraud totalling N5, 040,950 (Five Million, Forty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty Naira only).

“They were arraigned on two-count charges bordering on conspiracy, bribery, criminal breach of trust and abuse of office,” Oyewale said.

They, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

Count one of the charges read:

“That you, Torese Agena, on 18th day of October, 2019 being Clerk, Benue State House of Assembly, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did use your position to confer unfair advantage to yourself as bribe, to the tune of N200, 000 (Two Hundred thousand naira only) from N50, 000, 000 (Fifty Million Naira) payable to High Profile Investment Nigeria Limited by the Benue State Government for the Benue State House of Assembly legislative tour to European countries, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same Act”.

READ ALSO: EFCC arrests Benue Assembly Clerk for alleged N220m fraud

Count two read:

“That you Christopher Adaji between 8th – 14 of November, 2019 within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court spent the sum of N4, 840, 950 (Four Million, Eight Hundred and Forty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty Naira only) the funds allocated to you for European legislative tour on your legal and other services and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(5) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000”.

After their no guilty plea, prosecution counsel, G. G. Chia-Yakua, asked the court for a date for the commencement of trial, and also sought an order of the court to remand the defendants in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Services (NCS). However, the defence counsel prayed the court to grant them bail on liberal terms or on self-recognizance adding that they would always be available in court to stand for their trials.

Justice Itodo admitted them to bail on self-recognizance and thereafter adjourned the case till July 6, 7, and 8, 2020, for commencement of trial.

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