Court Orders Arrests Of REA Staff As One Other Gets N50m Bail

Court Orders Arrest Of Lawyer, Town Planner, Others For Forgery

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Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the arrest of three staff members of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) for failing to appear for their arraignments on multiple charges of alleged fraud and diversions of public funds.

They are Emmanuel Pada Titus, Henrietta Onormen Okojie, and Umar Musa Karaye.

The employees were earlier granted administrative bails by the Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, over alleged fraud, criminal conspiracy, and diversion of public funds amounting to N1.835 billion.

Another official, Usman Ahmed Kwakwa, was offered administrative bail in the sum of N50 million, with one surety in like sum, three years’ tax clearance, landed property in the FCT, original documents, and two recent passport photographers of both the Respondent and his Surety.

Earlier, Dr Osuoben Ekoi Akpanimisingha, assistant chief legal officer of the ICPC, presented the charges while reading them, which stated that Emmanuel Pada Titus was being arraigned for the alleged diversion of N261m.

According to the charge, Henrietta Onormen Okojie is being arraigned for an alleged diversion of N342m, while Umar Musa Karaye is being arraigned for an alleged diversion of N165m.

The complainant, Dr Okojie, on behalf of the federal government, sought the court’s permission to arrest the trio for deliberately failing to appear despite having full details of their arraignments by the Commission.

Quoting section 114 and section 184 of the Criminal and Justice Act, respectively, the complainant informed that he had personally served the defendants the notices of arraignment on May 29th, 2024, with the details of appearances clearly stated, but the defendants on their own notices had failed to appear for their arraignments.

 

Investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and the Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives showed outflows of payments amounting to One Billion Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five Million (N1.835b).

The alleged disbursements were paid in tranches into 6 personal accounts of some senior agency officials.

The charge sheets, co-signed by Henry O Empire, Director of Legal Services, and Dr Osuoben Ekoi Akponimisinghi, Assistant Legal Officer of the ICPC, stated that Abubakar Abdullahi Sambo paid the defendants a total of one billion eight hundred and thirty-five million naira (N1.835 billion) in tranches.

The judge adjourned the re-arraignment of Emmanuel Pada Titus, Henrietta Onormen Okojie, and Umar Musa Karaye to June 13, 2024, and that of Usman Ahmed Kwakwa to June 14, 2024, respectively.

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