Home News Alleged N1.84bn fraud: ICPC arraigns REA Finance Director, Sambo

Alleged N1.84bn fraud: ICPC arraigns REA Finance Director, Sambo

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ABUJA- The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on Monday, arraigned Abubakar Sambo, Director of Finance and Account of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) for alleged fraud to the tune of N1.84 billion.

Sambo was arraigned before Justice Bolaji Olajuwon of a Federal High Court, Abuja on three-count charge for allegedly diverting the funds to personal accounts.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the counts and ICPC’s counsel, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, prayed the court for a trial date.

But Sambo’s lawyer, Isiaka Dikko, SAN, informed the court of the defendant’s bail application which had already been filed.

Since Akponimisingha did not oppose the bail plea, Justice Olajuwon admitted Sambo.to a N200 million bail with two sureties in the like sum.

The judge held that the sureties must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court with original certificates of occupancy (CofO) which must be deposited with the deputy chief registrar of the court.

She equally ordered that sureties to provide affidavits of their tax clearance in the last three years with a one passport photograph each.

Justice Olajuwon adjourned the matter until Oct. 17 for trial commencement.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the anti-corruption commission had, in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/209/2024, sued Abubakar Abdullahi Sambo as sole defendant.

In the charge dated May 8 but filed May 10 by Akponimisingha, an Assistant Chief Legal Officer in the commission, the ICPC alleged that Sambo sometime in March 2023 or thereabout while being the Payment Finalizer on the Government integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) platform of REA did finalise the payment of the totai sum of N1.84 billion (N1,835,000,000.00).

It alleged that the funds were done in different tranches for the use of Henrrientta Onomen Okojie, Asuni Adejoke Aminat, Usman Kwakwa, Laure Shehu Abduilahi, Emmanuel Pada Titus and Musa Umar Karaye for a purported project supervision exercise without requisite approval, thereby contributing to the economic adversity of the REA.

The commission said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 68 of the Public Enterprise Regulatory Commission Act, CAP. P39, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

In count two, Sambo was accused to have used his access password to access the REA’s GIFMIS platform and finalised the payment of the sum of N1.84 billion in different tranches for the use of Okojie, Aminat, Kwakwa, Abdullahi, Titus and Karaye for a purported project supervision exercise without authority.

The offence was said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 6(4) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015.

In count three, Sambo was alleged to have conferred corrupt advantage on Okojie, Aminat, Kwakwa, Abdullahi, Titus and Karaye when he used his access password to access the REA’s GIFMIS platform and finalised the payment of N1.84 billion in different tranches for their use for a purported project supervision exercise without requisite approvals.

The ICPC said the offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

NAN reports that Justice Emeka Nwite of a sister court had earlier ordered the remand of Karaye, Titus and Okojie after they were arraigned by the ICPC on separate four-count charge preferred against them.

While Karaye and Titus were arraigned before Justice Nwite on June 13, Okojie was arraigned on June 14.

However, the fourth official, Usman Ahmed Kwakwa, who was arraigned alongside on June 13, also on separate criminal charge before the judge, was granted N50 million bail on same day.

Meanwhile, after the arraignment of Karaye, Titus and Okojie, Justice Nwite ordered for their remand and fixed today for the ruling on their bail applications.

Upon resumed hearing on Monday, Justice Nwite equally admitted the trio to a N50 million bail with sureties in the like sum.

The judge, who ordered that the first surety must be a landed property owner with original CofO within the jurisdiction of the court, directed that the documents should be deposited with the deputy chief registrar of the court.

He held that the second surety must be a responsible citizen and must sworn to an affidavit of means.

Nwite adjourned the matter until July 10 for trial.

In the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/203/24 filed against Okojie, she was alleged to have in count one, sometime in March 2023 or thereabout, with intent to defraud the REA, received the sum of N342 million in different tranches through her Access Bank Account: 0009022275 under the false pretence of project supervision.

The offence is said to be contrary to Section 1(1)(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.(NAN)

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