The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Thursday said it has arraigned the deputy speaker and clerk of the Benue State House of Assembly for alleged N5 million fraud.
The deputy speaker Christopher Adaji and the clerk Torese Agena were arraigned before Justice S. O. Itodo of the Benue State High Court, Makurdi.
“The duo are standing trial for their complicity in an alleged fraud totaling N5,040,950 (Five Million, Forty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty Naira only),” EFCC said in a statement.
“They were arraigned on two-count charges bordering on conspiracy, bribery, criminal breach of trust and abuse of office.”
Adaji and Agena pleaded not guilty.
The two-count charges against them 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 a 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 offense contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same Act”.
“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 offense 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 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 the commencement of trial.