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$4,095 SEC Fraud: EFCC Presents More Witnesses

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 27, (THEWILL) - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Wednesday presented two more witnesses in the on-going trial of the former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets and Other Institutions, Herman Hembe and his deputy, Chris Ifeanyi Azubogu before Justice Peter Kekemeke of the FCT High Court, Apo, Abuja.

The two law makers are being prosecuted on a two count charge bordering on fraud. They were alleged to have sometime in October 2011, converted to their use, $4, 094, being money given to them by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, as travelling allowances to Puncta, Dominican Republic to attend a conference.

The duo allegedly pocketed the money though they did not attend the conference, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 308 of the Penal Code Act Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.

At the resumed hearing today, Chile Okoroma, EFCC counsel led the two witnesses who are staff of SEC in evidence.

The first witness, Ibrahim Usman told the court that he was involved in making payment of approved estacodes to public officers travelling outside the shores of the country. He said on 11th October, 2011 he received a memo from the management directing him to pay Hembe and his deputy a sum of $4,095 as estacode to attend a conference in Dominican Republic. According to him, the payment was made based on the Management approval of 19th October, 2011, adding that one Mr. Femi Ogunsanya collected the money on behalf of the accused persons.

The second witness, Hassan Mamman told the court that he was the one that arranged travel tickets for the accused persons. He said that the first accused, Hembe only told him that he was away on the journey but that he had no evidence to show that he actually travelled neither did he have any reason to doubt him. Hassan said Hembe called him from London that he missed his flight and wanted another one arranged. He stated that, he reported all the conversation he had with Hembe on phone to his immediate boss in the office.

Testifying on the second accused, Honourable Azubogu, Hassan said the accused did not call to inform him that he travelled.

Further hearing in the case is adjourned to April 30, 2013.