Alleged Funds Misappropriation: Judge Threatens to Issue Bench Warrant on Oduah

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has threatened to issue a bench warrant of arrest on Former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah over her continuous absence in court.

Justice Inyang Ekwo issued the threat on Monday, following the refusal of the former minister to honour court proceedings.

Oduah, now a Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was billed to be arraigned on a 25-count alongside four others.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is alleging that Oduah misappropriated public funds while serving as a minister.

Other defendants are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore, and Marine Limited, Tip Top Global Resources Limited, Crystal Television Limited, Sobora International Limited, and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Limited.

They are charged with conspiracy and money laundering as well as maintaining anonymous bank accounts.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, Counsel to the EFCC, Hassan Liman, said all the defendants have been served with the charges as ordered by the court.

He added that 32 witnesses have been lined up to testify against her and eight others with a view of establishing the fraud charges against them.

However, the former minister and the fourth defendant were not in court.

Justice Ekwo said he would fix another day for the arraignment of the defendants.

Ekwo also directed the prosecution to get their “house in order” while adding that “a warrant of arrest will be issued against any defendant that is absent from court on the day fixed for arraignment”.

The judge, therefore, fixed October 19 and 20 for the arraignment.

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This is the fourth time the arraignment of the former minister has been stalled, having been previously fixed for February 9, February 22, and April 19.

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