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EFCC Apprehends Three for Salary Padding In Abia State

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Three people arraigned by EFCC over Laundering Money

EFCC

EFCC has arraigned three people from the Abia State Ministry of Finance Staff for alleged corrupt practices . According to the Federal High Court Umuahia , the three staff were allegedly padding salary and laundering money. The 3 suspects include Charity Nneoma Ukonu Idika Kalu and Uche Udeachara . Their ch arges were on 11 counts bordering on funds diversion, money laundering, and stealing of about N6, 260,321.08. That is; six million, two hundred and sixty thousand, three hundred and twenty-one naira, eighty kobo only. 

This act is contrary to the Sec. 18(a) and punishable under Sec. 15 of the 2012 prohibition act of Money Laundering as amended.

What Caused the Arrest

These three suspects are Abia State Government employees who are also members of the State Salary Verification Committee. Allegedly, they stole funds which are meant for workers’ salaries {N6, 260,321.08}.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission also invited staff s from the Ministry of Finance to provide answers to the money laundering and salary padding allegations. One of the staff members invited is Mr. Obinna Oriaku , the former finance commissioner. However, h e was later released from detention and exempted from the alleged crime.

Judgments

  The number one and eight counts of the charges were not in favor of the defendants. It read as follows; “you Idika Kalu Udeachara Uche , and Charity Ukaonu with other people conspired in 2015 conspired amongst you to act unlawfully. You laundered money, thus committing an offence which is not in accordance with sec.15 (a). This unlawful act is punishable under sec. 15 of the 2012 act of Money Laundering prohibition as amended.

Also “you Udeachara a state Salary Enhancement and Audit Committee from July – December of 2017 within Umuahia court jurisdiction indirectly held the total amount of N1 ,667,892.43 .

This amount of money was transferred into the account of Chidiebere Udeachara , your son from Abia State Government account. The said son is a minor, and you know very well that this amount of money is part of the proceeds from the unlawful act you committed. Thereby, you are found guilty of an offense which is punishable under sec. 15(2 )( d) of the 2011 money laundering prohibition act as amended.

Reactions

However, the plea of the defendants was not guilty to all the charges against them. Cosmas Ogwu , who is the prosecuting counsel, pleaded the court to name the date for trial. The defendants were remanded in the State’s correctional center.

On the other hand, Dan Uruakpa , who is the defense counsel, moved a motion for his client’s bail, which the prosecuting counsel opposed. He stressed that he needs time for a response since the bail is just served.

Justice Evelyn Anyadike , who is the presiding judge, o r dered that the defendants should remain at the state’s correction center and the court was adjourned until November 11 2019. That is the date for the bail application hearing.   

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