7th July, 2010
The EFCC on Tuesday re-arraigned the Vice Chancellor of the Imo State University, Owerri, Innocent Okonkwo, and two others for illegal collection of funds.
Charged with Okonkwo for illegally collecting N232 million from students of the institution are Mrs. Uchechi Nwugo and Wilfred Uwakwe, both bursars in the school.
The three pleaded not guilty to the 13-count charge brought against them by the anti graft agency and prayed the court for an extension of the bail earlier granted them by another judge.
Okonkwoâ€™s counsel, Mr. Bem Atetan, told the court that the accused persons were granted bail by Justice Garba Umar on July 30, 2009 and had not jumped bail since then.
He pleaded with the court to extend the bail and assured it that his client would stand his trial until the case was determined.
On his part, Mr. Ola Olanipekun, the counsel to Nwugo and Uwakwe, associated with the submission of Okonkwo, adding that since the case started, the accused had always made themselves available before the court.
The counsel to EFCC, Mr. Mohammed Mailumo, told the court that the agency was ready to prove its case against the accused but for the notice of preliminary objection they filed in November last year.
Mailumo, who did not oppose the submission of the counsel to the accused, said the prosecution bore witness that the accused had been consistent since their first arraignment.
“We have no objection to the sustenance of the bail as it was granted to them before, in as much as they would not jump bail,â€™â€™ he said.
Justice Adamu Bello ruled that the accused should continue to enjoy their bail, saying: “The three accused are granted bail in the same term as earlier granted with the same sureties unless the sureties are willing to withdraw their bail bond.â€™â€™
He adjourned the case to Oct. 20 for the motion on notice.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the accused were granted bail by Umar in the sum of N20 million each and sureties who must own landed property in the FCT.
The court also ruled that the sureties must be directors in the Federal Civil Service and must show evidence of tax clearance for three years and that the accused should deposit their passports with the court registrar.