Mrs. Farida Waziri, EFCC boss.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, this morning, before an Abuja High Court, arraigned two financial service operators for defrauding the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Usman Bayero Nafada; members of House of Representatives, Hon. Dantiye and Hon. Farouk Lawan, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, of a whopping sum of N404 million.

The financial operators, Mr. Adeniyi Elumaro and Mrs. Rekiya Mamman, working with Integrated Capital Services Limited, allegedly conspired to defraud their clients by falsely representing to them that the money would be used for the purpose of investing into stocks and private placement in blue chip companies such as Equitorial Trust Bank, Access Bank,  MTN, Starcomms and City Link Shares which they knew was false.

They were alleged to have committed the offence contrary to section 1, subsection 1(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under section 1, subsection 3 of the same Act.

The 22-count charge listed how much was fraudulently received by the accused persons from their respective victims.

The Deputy Speaker lost N161 million in the scam, while former Minister of Health, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin lost N5 million.

Hon. Dantiye lost N15 million, Hon. Farouk Lawan lost N25 million, while Mohammed Adoke lost N16.5 million.

In all, the accused persons allegedly received N404 million from the victims listed in the charge sheet.

When the charges were read to them, the accused persons pleaded not guilty.

Subsequently, counsel to the accused persons, Mr. Ugbe Simon and Mr. Festus Esamgbedo made an oral application for their bail.

Counsel to the EFCC, Sir Steve Odiase, opposed the application for bail. But the presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi observed that the offences are ordinarily bailable.

He, therefore, granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of N50 million each and one surety, who must be a responsible citizen and holder of statutory right of occupancy for his property within the court’s jurisdiction and must have evidence of means of livelihood.

Justice Adeniyi also ordered that the case file be returned to the Chief Judge of Abuja High Court for reassignment to a regular court after the vacation for the trial of the accused persons.

—Nnamdi Felix/Abuja