26th October, 2022
By Edith Nwapi
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday re-arraigned suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and three others over alleged N109.5 billion fraud.
Other defendants are Olusegun Akindele; Mohammed Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.
They were first arraigned on July 22 before a vacation judge, Justice Adeyemi Ajayi on a 13-count charge bordering on misappropriation to the tune of N109.5 billion.
However, upon the resumption of the court, the case was transferred to Justice Yusuf Halilu.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by EFCC.
Following their not-guilty plea, counsel to Idris, Chris Uche, SAN, prayed the court to allow the defendants to continue to enjoy the earlier bail granted them by the court on July 28.
He submitted that they have been complying with their bail conditions.
Counsels for other defendants aligned themselves with Uche’s application and submission.
The EFCC Counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, did not object to the application.
He, however, left the decision to the court to exercise its discretion.
Ruling on the application, Justice Halilu held that bail is a constitutional right of a defendant.
He added that having been previously granted bail by the court, he is favourably inclined to allow the defendants to continue enjoying the earlier bail granted them by the court.
However, he directed that defendants submit their passports to the court’s registrar.
The judge added that if the documents were with the prosecution, he should pass same to the registrar.
Justice Halilu adjourned the case until Nov. 23 for hearing.
Between February and December 2021, EFCC alleged that Idris accepted from Akindele, a gratification of N15. 1 billion, which sum was a motive for accelerating the payment of 13 per cent derivation to the nine oil-producing sates in the Federation, through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Also, the anti-graft agency also alleged that N84. 3 billion from the federal government’s account was converted by the first and second defendants between Feb. and Nov. 2021.
According to the EFCC, the offence contravenes sections 155 and 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.