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EFCC accuses Lucky Igbinedion of stealing N4.4bn

Posted by By PETRUS OBI, Enugu on 2008/01/23 | Views: 2856 |

EFCC accuses Lucky Igbinedion of stealing N4.4bn


Former Edo State Governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion was on Wednesday docked in the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accusing him of laundering funds totaling N4,363,181,919.52 during his eight-year rule in the state.

Former Edo State Governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion was on Wednesday docked in the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accusing him of laundering funds totaling N4,363,181,919.52 during his eight-year rule in the state.

The 147-count charge preferred against Igbinedion by the anti-graft commission also included alleged fraudulent embezzlement of state funds, stealing, conspiracy to defraud and use of several corporate organizations as conduit pipes to siphon several billions of Naira from the state.

Among the corporate organizations charged along with the former Edo chief executive are Kiva Corporation Limited, Gava Corporation Limited, Ekpen and Sons Company and Romrig Nigeria Limited.

According to the charge, Igbinedion was alleged to have illegally withdrawn hundreds of millions of Naira from the state’s coffers into his personal accounts or accounts of the accused companies on several occasions during the pendency of his tenure.
The former governor rode into the court premises at about 12.55p.m. in a Peugeot bus with registration number AG 60 KEF with his legal team led by Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN) amid tight security.
Looking calm in his all-white traditional attire throughout the three hours the charge was read to him by the court registrar, the accused absolved himself of any wrongdoing as he pleaded not guilty to all the allegations. Initially, Igbinedion was meant to face 156-count charge, which the EFCC reduced to 147 during the sitting.

Before the adjournment of the matter by the trial judge, Justice Olayinka Faji, EFCC prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that the commission had been served with a copy of summon for bail brought by Igbinedion.
According to the prosecutor, the accused counsel effected the service of the bail application in the court premises.

He further told the court that the prosecution was opposing the bail application and would file counter response within a few days. “He filed a motion for bail and he served me here in court at about 1.00p.m.
“By Monday, we should be able to file our reply. I need to get instructions from my client to enable me to reply to the facts stated here,” he said.

Justice Faji, having listened to the submission, directed the EFCC to file its reply by Monday next week and serve the accused with a copy accordingly.
The court further directed both the prosecution and the defence to file their written addresses which would be admitted on February 4, 2008, while the court would then adjourn to a later date to decide the application.

The court eventually remanded the accused in the custody of the EFCC based on his request to the commission to allow him remain with them until the February 4, 2008 next adjourned date.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs during Wednesday session decided to withdraw counts 147 to 156 of the charge because the EFCC was unable to serve the parties involved.
Speaking with newsmen after the court session, the EFCC counsel explained that he had to withdraw some of the charges, because all the parties involved had not been served. “We shall, however, bring it in at the right time.”

On the decision to detain the former governor in the EFCC custody Mr Jacobs said it was based on the accused’s request. “They approached us that they preferred the EFCC custody so we obliged them.”
At the end of the court sitting, Igbinedion declined to answer questions from newsmen and walked straight into the waiting bus that conveyed him to the court.
The embattled former governor, on Monday in Lagos, surrendered himself to EFCC after he was declared wanted.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.