N15BN FRAUD: EFCC RE-ARRAIGNS ADAMU, 11 OTHERS
A fresh 170-count charge has been filed against the former Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu. Consequently, he was re-arraigned along with 11 other accused persons before Justice David Okorowa of the Federal High Court, Lafia, yesterday.
The trial Judge had relocated from the Federal High Court 8, Abuja to Lafia, following the withdrawal of Justice Marcel Awokulehin who stepped down from the case, citing personal reasons .
Justice Awokulehin, it would be recalled, was the judge who gave former Governor James Ibori of Delta State a clean bill when he discharged him of the 170-count charge filed against him by the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Asaba, Delta State, in December last year.
The EFCC had on March 3, 2010, arraigned ex-governor Adamu alongside 19 others on a 149-count charge which had been amended to 170.
The accused persons were earlier arraigned at the Federal High Court, Lafia, Nasarawa State, before Justice Ibrahim Buba for allegedly looting the state treasury to the tune of about N15 billion during Adamu's eight-year tenure as governor of the state.
Buba was later transferred to Asaba and replaced with Justice Awokulehin. Others re-arraigned alongside the former governor who also took their plea yesterday were: Engr. Baba Gbewfi, Alhaji Halilu Bala Usman, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, chairman, Sneccu Group of Companies, Ovey Bala Angbaso, John Mamman, Ifeanyiezekweli, M. D Ciez Pharmacy Limited, Mr. Chukwuma Okoronkwo, Nosa Idehen, M.D Jonabel Construction Company, Henry N Nick Associates Limited, owned by Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and others, Niccus Industries Limited, owned by Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu as well as Prince and Princess Limited. They were all granted bail.
The judge, while granting bail to the nine accused persons on the same bail conditions Justice Buba earlier gave, enjoined all the parties to the case to help the court and see to the quick dispensation of justice. He warned that he would not entertain frivolous applications which would unduly waste the time of the court.
The 2nd, 8th and 9th accused persons nonetheless, filed objections to the 170-count charge against them. Those who filed the objections were: Engr. Baba Gbewfi, Mr. Chukwuma Okoronkwo and Nosa Idehen. Prosecution counsel, Akintola Adeniyi, SAN, while addressing the court said even though the three accused, served him the objections on Wednesday, July 21, 2010, he had immediately filed responses before the court. This, he said was to help the court arrive at a conclusion in no long a time.
After taking arguments from both the prosecution and defence counsels, the judge adjourned till October 26 and 27, 2010 for hearing.