2 February 2013

Nigeria: EFCC Arraigns Taraba Clerics Over N19 Million Fraud

Two leaders of the Muslim Council in Taraba State were yesterday re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for diverting the sum of N19 million of the N21 million released to the council by the state government.

Alhaji Inuwa Usman and Alhaji Chindo Bose, chairman and secretary of the council and special adviser to the governor on religious matters, Rev. Simon Jatutu, were accused of diverting the money in September 2010 to personal use.

As part of the celebration of Nigeria's 50th anniversary, the state government had released N42 million to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Muslim Council, which they were to share N21m each, but only N11m was declared by the leaders of the Muslim Council.

Based on a petition sent to it, the EFCC investigated the allegations and subsequently arraigned the accused before Justice M.S Shu'aibu of the Federal High Court, Yola for conspiracy, fraud and money laundering.

They were, however, granted bail by Justice Shu'aibu in the sum of N1.5million each and a surety in the like sum on grounds that the court's vacation was too long to keep them in custody.

The case was, however, transferred from the Yola Federal High Court to the newly created Federal High Court in Jalingo under which jurisdiction the said offences were committed.

When the hearing commenced, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Al Qasim called Mr. Japhet Wubon, a former permanent secretary in the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) as witness and he was cross-examined by the defence and prosecution counsels.

Counsel to the accused persons, Mr. Ukaegbu Onyi, sought for an adjournment to enable him have access to the statement of the witnesses, and the case was adjourned till February 21 and 22, 2013.

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