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EFCC drags Kebbi former senator before Court over N419m fraud

By Barakat Odegbola

 

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has dragged a former lawmaker representing Kebbi-North senatorial district, Umaru Argungu, before a High Court sitting in Sokoto State over alleged misappropriation of over N419 million

EFCC dragged Argungu before the court presided over by Justice Mohammed Mohammed, on one count charge of misappropriation of public funds while representing the district.

In the charge filed by EFCC, Argungu was found to have committed a criminal breach of trust contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Law CAP 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria and punishable under Section 312 of the same Law.

At the court proceeding on Monday, the anti-graft agency alleged that Argungu diverted the fund which was paid by the Sokoto state government as a 40percent equity stake in Hijrah investment Nigeria Limited, owners of Hijrah Textile Ltd.

The anti-graft agency further revealed that the Sokoto state government entered into an agreement with the former Senator to buy a 40 percent stake in his company Hijrah Investment Nigeria Limited in order to create jobs and boost the economy of the state.

However, investigations revealed several withdrawals and transfers from the said account to individuals not remotely connected to the objectives of turning around the company for public good.

The anti-graft agency, in a statement released by its Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwajuren, argued that a visit to the company by investigators further revealed that a firm in a severe state of abandonment and dilapidation.

When the charge was read before him, the former senator, however, pleaded not guilty to the allegations levelled against him by Commission.

Following the accused argument, the prosecution counsel, S.H. Sa’ad, asked the Court for a date to commence a trial of the former lawmaker, meanwhile, counsel to the accused person, Ibrahim Abdullahi, through a verbal motion, prayed the court to grant his client bail.

After listening to both parties’ arguments, Justice Mohammed granted the accused bail in the sum of N50 million and two sureties in like sum who must reside and have property within the jurisdiction of the Court.

The judge further directed that the defendant’s international passport be deposited with the Court and adjourned the case to March 18, 2021, for the commencement of trial.

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