EFCC Arraigns Two Benue Pension Officials over N19m Fraud

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George Okoh in Makurdi

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Benue State Zonal Office yesterday arraigned the duo of Victor Gabriel Charles and John Aboyi Omaku before Justice Moris Ikpambese of the state High Court in Makurdi over alleged conspiracy and misappropriation of pension funds to the tune of N19million.

Charles, a former vice chairman of Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), and Omaku, former branch Chairman of the union, were arraigned on two-count charges of fraud to which they pleaded not guilty.

Count one of the charge read: “That Victor Gabriel Charles and John Aboyi Omakwu on September 19, 2013, in Makurdi, within the jurisdiction of this court being entrusted with funds of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Benue State chapter, Makurdi, agreed to dishonestly misappropriate N19,000,000, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 96 of the Penal Code (CAP) 124 Laws of Benue State, and punishable under Section 97 of the same law.”

Following their pleas, prosecution counsel, George Chia-Yakua, asked the court for a commencement date of the trial, while Barnabas Iorheghem, who appeared for the first defendant (Charles), urged the court to admit his client to bail on liberal terms, noting that the defendant has been on EFCC administrative bail and has not failed to respond to any of the commission’s invitations.

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Ikwe Adakole, counsel to the second defendant (Omakwu), adopted the submissions of counsel to the first defendant, in asking for bail for his client.

Justice Ikpambese admitted each of the defendants to bail in the sum of N1million with one surety each in like sum. Each surety must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court and must not be below salary Grade Level 10 if they are civil servants, and must submit a copy of letter of employment as well as copy of his/her identity card to the court.

He ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail terms, and adjourned the case till September 22, 2020, for trial.

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