The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, arraigned four suspected fraudsters before Justice Sherifat Solebo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a 14-count charge bordering on felony and stealing to the tune of N1, 301, 334, 108 (One Billion, Three Hundred and One Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-four Thousand, One Hundred and Eight Naira) only.
The suspects are: Ifeoma Okpalugo, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, (retd.); Olumide Odumosu, Suleiman Yusuf Tegina and Helen Nwafor.
The suspects were charged alongside Yus Investment Nigeria Limited and Olivia Osmond Nigeria Limited for allegedly diverting the sum of N1,301, 334, 108.00 belonging to the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, to their personal use.
At the last sitting on Wednesday, November 1, 2018, when they were scheduled to be arraigned, the third defendant, Helen Nwafor, told the court that she did not understand English.
She had, therefore, requested someone to interprete the charges preferred against her in Igbo, which is her native language.
Consequently, the Judge had adjourned to today and remanded the defendants in prison custody.
At today’s sitting, the court engaged one Ogamba Consilia, to interprete the charges in Igbo to the third defendant.
However, Nwafor recanted her earlier statement, saying she understood the count and would take her plea in English.
In view of this, O. A. Osinfowora, moved an application seeking the order of the court to discharge the interpreter and the prosecution counsel did not object to the application.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Ogbadu Joseph (Now at Large), Hassan Paiko Muhammed (now at Large), Sule Yusuf Tegina, Olumide Odumosu, Helen Nwafor, Okpalugo Ifeoma, Olu Osmond Nigeria Limited and Jemmy Yus Investment Nigeria Limited, sometime in 2013 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony, to wit: stealing of the sum of N1, 301, 334, 108.00 (One Billion, Three Hundred and One Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-four Thousand, One Hundred and Eight Naira) property of the Nigeria Police Force.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court for an accelerated hearing of the case. He also prayed for a very short date for the commencement of trial.
Counsel to the defendants, Osinfowora, informed the court of a pending application for bail dated October 19, 2018.
However, in his response, the prosecution counsel, Oyedepo, urged the court to refuse the bail application of the defendants.
Consequently, Justice Solebo adjourned the matter to November 20, 21 and 22, 2018 for ruling on bail application and commencement of trial.