Daily Trust (Abuja)

21 January 2013

Nigeria: EFCC Arraigns Four Over N55 Million Fraud

Hope Olusegun Aroke, a Malaysia-based undergraduate and three others, Ibrahim Garuba Tafida, Tafida Gano Investment Limited and Hopes and Oyin Limited were today, arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over their involvement in a N55 million fraud.

A statement by EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren, said, "the accused were arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos on two separate charges bordering on false assets declaration, conspiracy and conversion of funds to the tune of over N55 million."

According to Wilson, "The first accused Aroke was arraigned on both charges. He was first docked on a three count charge that borders on false declaration of assets, while all four accused persons were later arraigned on a four count charge of conspiracy and conversion of funds."

"The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Consequently, prosecution counsel, Hauwa Abubakar urged the court to give a short date for trial and that the first and second accused persons are remanded in prison custody.

"Defence Counsel, T.O Taiwo, told the court that he had filed applications for bail and had served the prosecution since January 18, 2013. He also told the court that the second accused person, Ibrahim Tafida, had been offered administrative bail by the EFCC and did not default. He, therefore, prayed the court to allow him continue with the bail earlier granted him or remand him in EFCC custody should the court decides otherwise.

"Justice Idris consequently offered Tafida bail in the sum of N10million and one surety in like sum. The surety must have a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. He also ruled that Tafida should be remanded in prison custody until he meets the bail conditions. Justice Idris also ruled that the first accused person, Hope Olusegun Aroke be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case till January 25, 2013 for hearing of Aroke's bail application.

"Aroke, together with one other Malaysia-based undergraduate, was arrested in the closing week of 2012 by operatives of the EFCC at the elite 1004 housing estate, Victoria Island, Lagos. His accomplice, Ibrahim Tafida is a Bureau De Change operator through whom Aroke was able to launder proceeds of scam to the tune of N55, 050, 000.00k (Fifty Five million, fifty thousand naira only)," the statement said.

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