The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday arraigned Mr. Adegboye London and Mr. Sylvanus Benedict before Justice Idris Kutigi of FCT High Court sitting in Bwari, Abuja, on a two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and fraudulent conversion of funds.

Before taking their plea, the prosecuting counsel, Gift Odibo sought the court’s consent to file a motion on notice to amend a two-count charge filed earlier in the court which was granted. The accused persons pleaded not guilty to both charges when read to them. The prosecution consequently asked for a date for the commencement of trial.

But counsel to the accused persons, Mr. J.A. Ako, informed the court that he had filed a motion for bail. The prosecuting counsel, Odibo objected to the application on the ground that she was only served the motion in the court. She added that she could not respond orally and would need time to prepare a written response to the bail application. While adjourning the matter to June 19 for hearing of the bail application, Justice Kutigi ordered that the suspects be remanded in EFCC custody.

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The accused persons, who were chairman and secretary respectively of Mbatoo Co-operative Society, were arrested following a petition from the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. The petitioner alleged that the accused persons fraudulently diverted a grant of N4,826,850 from the N120 million World Bank/IDA loan. The facility was part of the $10 million micro grant programme designed as a poverty alleviation scheme for artisans and small-scale miners and mining communities.

According to the petition, the accused persons were given the N4,826,850 for the procurement of Atlas copco XAS 47 Air Compressor, Jack hammer with accessories and diaphragm water pump, but fraudulently converted the grant for other purposes.

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Source – Thisday


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