Ex- Gov Adamu, Ukachukwu, 10 Others Face Fresh 170 Count Charge
Former governor of Nasarawa state, Abdullahi Adamu as well as the candidate of Hope Democratic Party, HDP, in the February 2010, Anambra state gubernatorial election, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, was along with seven others arraigned on Monday, March
15 before Justice I.M. Buba of the Federal High Court, Lafia, on a fresh 170 count charge for defrauding Nasarawa state government to the tune of N15 billion.The accused had earlier been arraigned on March 3, on a 149 count charge.Beside Ukachukwu and Abdullahi, others who were arraigned along with them were Engr. Baba Gwefi, Halilu Usman, Abdullahi Idde, Ovey Agbaso, John Mamman, Usman Dubagari, Ifeanyi Ezekweli, Philip Dada, Silas Igbara and Chukwu Okoronkwo.
However, the quartet of Abdulahi Idde, the state Accountant General, Philip Dada, former Secretary to the State Government, Usman Dubagari, a serving Permanent Secretary in the state and Chukwu Okoronkwo who were granted administrative bail last Friday failed to turn up in court when the others were arraigned.
At the resumed hearing, prosecution counsel, Adeniyi Akintola prayed the court to substitute the earlier 149 count charge with a new 170 count charge and also to substitute the earlier 20 accused persons with 12 accused persons. But Barrister Adetunji Oyeyipo, SAN, counsel to Adamu Abdullahi, and Halilu Usman argued that it would not be necessary to read the count charges or take plea as four of the 12 accused persons were not in court.
The EFCC counsel, however, prayed the court that he was ready to withdraw charges against the four accused persons not in court so as to enable the eight accused in court to take their plea.
While ruling in favour of the defence, Justice Buba granted bail to the accused in the sum of 100 million with surety in like sum. Accused are to produce two recent passport photos each and to also sign an undertaking that they would not interfere or bring about delay in the trial of the case.
The Judge, while adjourning the case till March 24, 2010, also granted the EFCC prayers to use every means to bring the four accused persons, who were not in court, to justice at the next adjourned date.
Count one of the 170 count charge reads: That you Alhaji Adamu Abdulahi whilst being the governor of Nasarawa State and Alhaji Aliyu Bala Usman, whilst being the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Nasarawa State between May 1999 and May 2007 and 2002 to 2007 respectively, within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court, agreed to do or to cause to be done an illegal act to wit, authorized directly, effect or procure the withdrawal of the sum of N2, 456,000,000.00 in 36 months from the State Local Government Joint Account for a purpose and in a manner not authorized by law and that the same act was punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code
Count two reads: “ That you, Alhaji Abdulahi Adamu whilst being the governor of Nasarawa state and Alhaji Halilu Bala Usman, whilst being the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Nasarawa state between May 1999 to May 2007 and 2002 to 2007 respectively within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did authorize, direct effect or procure the withdrawal of the sum of N2, 456, 000,00.00 in 63 months from the State/Local Government Joint Accounts, belonging to 13 Local Government Councils of Nasarawa state contrary to Section 7(6) (A), 162 (5), (6), (7) and (8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the Local government laws of Nasarawa State and the Joint Account Law, intending therefore to cause injury to the public and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of the Penal Code.”| Article source