The police on Thursday arraigned a 44-year-old Chief Superintendent of Police, Mrs. Rebecca Okereke, at an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, for allegedly stealing N12.44m meant for payment of allowances of police recruits.
The police alleged that Okereke conspired with others at large to steal the money while serving at the Nigeria Police College, Ikeja, Lagos, between July and December 2010.
Okereke was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit felony and stealing, which according to the charge sheet, is punishable under sections 516(1) and 390(5) of the Criminal Code Cap 17 Vol. II Laws of Lagos State, 2003.
When Okereke’s plea was taken, she pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Her lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Banye, while making an oral application for her bail said there was no likelihood that she would jump bail if granted as she was still a serving member of the Nigeria Police.
Banye said, “I urge this court to exercise its discretionary powers and admit the defendant to bail in the most liberal terms.
“Since she has been in police custody since last Friday, her health has been failing. Besides, she has three children she looks after.
“I say it with all sense of confidence that as a serving member of the Nigeria Police she would not jump bail.”
Banye also told the court that Okereke had yet to be served with a dismissal letter and that her name was still on the nominal role of the Nigeria Police.
However, Police Prosecutor, Etim Nkankuk, an assistant superintendent of police, objected to Banyen’s assertion that she had not been dismissed.
Nkankuk said, “I am an officer of the Nigeria Police and I know full well that it is not in our character to arraign serving officers. Her being here today is the result of the in-house disciplinary actions she had faced.
“The address she gave us at Central Police Barracks, Police College, Ikeja, during investigation is no longer tenable.
“I urge the court not to be misguided with the assertion that she is still a police officer while granting her bail.”
Magistrate Folake Davies-Abegunde in her ruling granted the accused bail in the sum of N3m with two sureties each in like sum.
Davies-Abegunde said, “In granting the defendant bail, this court is mindful of the fact that she may no longer be in the services of the Nigeria Police.
“Being a bailable offence, she is granted bail in the sum of N3m with two sureties each in like sum.
“The sureties should be company executives of blue-chip companies one of which must possess a landed property within Lagos State.”
She warned that police personnel and touts would not be allowed to stand as surety for her, adding that Okereke must inform the court if she intends to relocate from her present place of residence or risk the revocation of her bail.
The case has been adjourned till August 2 for further hearing.