Fraud: Buhari’s Ex-Aide, Obono-Obla, For Second Arraignment Monday

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The police will next week Monday arraign Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, a former Special Assistant on Prosecutions to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Counsel for the ex-presidential aide, Paul Erokoro (SAN), told journalists in Abuja on Friday that the police planned to arraign his client before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Kwali, Abuja.

This was shortly after Obono-Obla and two others were arraigned for an alleged fraud of N19,994,185 by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on Friday.

The ICPC had arraigned Obono-Obla alongside his ex-aide, Aliyu Ibrahim, and the Managing Director of ABR Global Petroleum Resources Ltd, Daniel Omughele, before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja.

Erokoro claimed that his client was being victimised.

In the charges filed by the ICPC, Obono-Obla and his co-defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to divert N19,994,185 meant for the furnishing of the offices of the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.

Obla, who was Chairman of the defunct SPIP, was also accused of forging his academic credentials.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which their lawyers – Erokoro (for Obono-Obla), Abel Ozioko (for Ibrahim) and Emmanuel Okere (for Omughele) – prayed the court to grant their clients bail in liberal terms.

The prosecuting counsel for the ICPC, Samuel Ipinlaiye, told the court that he was withdrawing his earlier objection to the defendants’ bail application and prayed the court to, instead, impose conditions that would guarantee that the defendants would not jump bail and abscond.

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The prosecution also said the defendants might not be remanded in the facilities of the Nigerian Correctional Services in view of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

After listening to the parties, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi granted each of the defendants bail in the sum of N1m with one surety in like sum.

The judge said the surety must be a civil servant not below the rank of Director in the employment of the Federal Government or the FCT.

The judge ordered the ICPC to transfer the defendants’ travel documents, already seized, to the registrar of the court.

He adjourned till March 17 for commencement of trial.

Punch

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