2 Rep members For Trial Over SEC bribe

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Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

As controversies continue to trail the ongoing probe of the Security Exchange Commission by an Adhoc Committee of the House of Representatives, a bigger concern was on Thursday thrown the way of the embattled former Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the disbanded committee which started the public probe following the approval issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by an Abuja High Court, to arraign them on May 17 over alleged diversion of public funds.

Iorwase Hembe and Azubuogu Emeka Ifeanyi were serving as Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets and Institutions respectively before SEC Director General, Ms Aruma Oteh, threw a bribery allegation at them. Both were subsequently sacked by the House.

Ruling on an application brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for leave to prefer criminal charges against the lawmakers, Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar held that the application has merit based on the proof of evidence filed alongside the proposed criminal charges.

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In the two count charge brought by counsel to the EFCC, Mr Onjefu Obe, the anti-graft agency alleged that Hembe and Ifeanyi converted to their own use the sum of $4, 095, (about N600, 000) given to them by the SEC as traveling allowance to a conference in Dominican Republic in October, 2011.

The offence is contrary to section 308 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Count One of the charge reads: “That you Hon Iorwase Herman Hembe sometime in October 2011 in Abuja within the Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of $4,095 (Four thousand, Ninety Five Dollars) being money given to you by the Securities and Exchange Commission as your traveling allowance to PUNCTA CANA, Dominican Republic to attend a conference which you did not attend and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 308 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 2004 and punishable under section 309 of the same code.

Count Two: “That you Hon Azubogu Chris Emeka Ifeanyi sometime in October, 2011 in Abuja within the Judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of $4, 095 (Four thousand, Ninety Five Dollars) being money given to you by the Securities and Exchange Commission as your traveling allowance to PUNCTA CANA, Dominican Republic to attend a conference which you did not attend and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 308 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 2004 and punishable under section 309 of the same code.”