The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned one Engineer Ibrahim Babbaji, Coordinating Director, Guara Water Management Authority and four others over a fraud of N48 million only.
A statement by the acting Head, Media and Publicity of the commission, Tony Orilade, said the suspects were arraigned before Justice Aliyu Yusuf of FCT High Court 25 Maitama.
Others arraigned with Mr Babbaji were Mohammed Admin Sadiq, Legal Adiviser, Guara Water Management Authority; Oba Justine, Head of Administration; Chorio Wonkan Philips, Salary Officer, National Lottery Trust Fund and Segun Odetoyinbo, Estate Surveyor and Valuer
According to the statement, their prosecution followed a petition that Management Staff of Guara Water Management Authority, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, connived with the owner of a rented apartment located at Utako District, Abuja and inflated the rent from N21million to N48million.
According to the petitioner, a two-year rent of N98 million had been applied for, with approval granted for half of the money. The money was thereafter released and disbursed by the defendants.
“Upon receipt of the petition, the EFCC swung into action to investigate the allegation.
“They were arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N49 million. The alleged offence was committed sometimes in November 2012 in Abuja.
“They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, Yetunde Alabi, thereafter, prayed the court for a date for trial to commence. in view of their plea.
“Counsel for the second defendant, Victor Awal, however, told the court that he had filed an application for bail on behalf of his client.
“The application is dated November 21 and filed on the 22 November 2018, and it is brought pursuant to Section 162 of ACJA and Section 36 and 35(1) of the Nigeria Constitution and the application is to admit my client to bail,” Mr Awal said.
Counsel for the fifth defendant, Adetola Olulenu, also moved the motion for the bail application of his client.
Counsel for the fourth defendant, F.P. Chorio, also applied for bail of his client urging the court to admit his client to bail “on liberal terms, since he had been on administrative bail”.
Justice Aliyu Yusuf, thereafter, admitted the second, fifth and fourth defendants to bail, ordering them to produce two reasonable sureties each, who must produce N20 million bond each, while the first and third defendants be remanded in Suleja Prison pending their bail application .
Matter has been adjourned to January 22, 2019.