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PARTY CHIEF ON TRIAL OVER ALLEGED N12M THEFT

By NBF News
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IT was a bad outing at the court yesterday for the National Chairman of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Damian Ogbonna, as he was arraigned and re-arrested by the police for allegedly stealing his party's money and defrauding the Yobe State government of N15 million.

At an Abuja Chief Magistrate's Court where Ogbonna was arraigned for stealing and illegal conversion of N12 million belonging to the PPP for personal use, the police accused him of conspiring with the party's Deputy National Chairman in the South-West, Olusegun Akinyele and the National Treasurer, Jennifer Nkiru, to commit the offence.

They were, therefore, charged for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and cheating contrary to Sections 97,312 and 333 of the Penal Code.

Prosecution counsel, Simon Lough, told the court that the offence was reported to the police on December 13, 2007, by the PPP National Secretary, Alhaji Usman Aliyu Griel.

The party leaders, the police said, fraudulently withdrew the money from the party's account and converted same to 'your use without the consent and authority of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and other officials of the party'.

Before the Chief Magistrate Hafsat Soso adjourned the case for trial, she set aside her earlier order directing the police to avail the accused with documents obtained during the investigation.

At the instance of the prosecution counsel, she adjourned the case to January 27, 2011, for further hearing.

In a dramatic twist, Ogbonna, who was already on bail, was re-arrested by the police as they ambushed him outside the court premises on fresh charges bordering on defrauding the Yobe State government of N15 million.

Ogbonna allegedly defrauded the state government of N15 million involving a contract transaction for the supply of hospital equipment.

The accused, who protested the police action, was whisked away in a waiting taxi-cab.