EFCC Arraigns Three For N44m Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on April 17, 2018 arraigned Aliyu Waziri, Imam Yakubu and Eneikarewajai Gordons before Justice A.I. Kutigi of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Apo on a two-count charge bordering on advance fee fraud.
The defendants were accused of defrauding MAF Construction Limited and D207 Construction Limited of N44 million, after posing to be in charge of the Nigerian Labour Co-operative Society Mass Housing Estate Project in Abuja.
One of the counts reads: “That you Aliyu Waziri, Imam Yakubu and Eneikarewajai Gordons sometime in December 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud did conspire to obtain by false pretence the sum of N44,000,000 from MAF Construction Limited and D207 Construction Limited under the false pretence of awarding contract of Nigerian Labour Co-operative Society Mass Housing Estate Project in Abuja”.
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to them.
Prosecuting counsel, Y.Y. Tarfa, subsequently expressed the readiness to proceed with trial.
However, counsel for Waziri, A.B. Eleburuike, and counsel for Yakubu and Gordons, I.A. Chidi, informed the court of a bail application to be moved on behalf of their clients.
Citing Section 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA 2015, Chidi, who moved the motion on behalf of the defendants, argued that “in the circumstance, the defendants are on administrative bail and the prosecution had no cause to look for them”.
“They have also assisted the respondent in the course of investigations, and so they will not interfere with the trial and will not also escape justice,” he said.
He urged the court to grant them bail on liberal terms.
Tarfa, however, opposed the application for bail on liberal terms, urging the court to consider the possibility of them interfering with witnesses.
Justice Kutigi, ruling on the application, noted that the offence was bailable, adding that, “all of them are presumed innocent until contrary, and nothing before the court suggests that they will be unavailable for trial.”
“Moreover, they were granted administrative bail by the EFCC,” the trial judge added.
While adjourning to June 7, 2018 for “definitive hearing”, the judge granted them bail in the sum of N500,000, with two sureties in like sum, who must not be less than Level 8 in the Civil Service and resident in Abuja.