29th June, 2012
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has arraigned Felix Maduegbuna, Stephen Fakrogha and Mbakwha Cooperative Society on one hand; and Duru Cosmos, Paul Momoh and Orgba Cooperative Society on the other, on a two count charge each of misappropriation of World Bank grant.
They were arraigned before Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi of the FCT High Court, sitting in Abuja for misappropriating $10million.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had obtained a $120million loan from the World Bank/IDA to develop the solid minerals sector of the economy.
Out of this facility, a grant of $10million was made available for disbursement to artisans and small scale Miners (ASMs) and Mining Communities which they misappropriated.
Maduegbuna and Fakrogha, Chairman and Secretary of Orgba Cooperative Society, allegedly in 2009, converted the sum of N4, 826,850.00 (Four Million Eight Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Naira Only) from the grant to their personal use; while Cosmos and Momoh, Chairman and Secretary of Mbakwha Cooperative Society, also in December 2009 converted to their personal use, the sum of N4,826,850.00 (Four Million Eight Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Naira Only) meant for the procurement of Atlas Copco XAS 47 Air Compressor, Jack Hammer with accessories and Diaphragm Water Pump, to enhance mining activities of the members of the cooperative.
The arrest and prosecution of the accused followed a petition dated September 23, 2010, by Mr. U.I. Adie, Project coordinator of Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project, an organ of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Mr Adie alleged that the accused fraudulently converted the proceeds of the Grant Fund for purposes other than which they were granted.
When the charges were read to the accused, they pleaded not guilty.
Their counsel, James Akor urged the court to admit his clients to bail but prosecution counsel, Gift I. Odibo, urged the court to be properly guided in granting bail to the accused.
She said the accused who were earlier granted administrative bail by the EFCC refused to honour invitation when they were to appear for further enquiry until they were re-arrested by operatives of the Commission.
Justice Adeniyi however granted bail to the accused in the sum of Five Million Naira each (N5 million) and one surety in like sum.
Beside, the judge ruled that the sureties must be civil servants with proof of residence in the federal capital.
They are however to be remanded in EFCC custody until the fulfilment of the bail conditions.
While the judge adjourned Maduegbuna and Fakrogha’s case till 9th and 10th October 2012; Cosmos and Paul are to have their day in court on 27th September and 3rd October, 2012.