The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Thursday, July 28, 2016 before Justice E.A. Ngene of the State High Court, Afikpo, Ebonyi State arraigned the former Coordinator of Afikpo South Local Government Development Center of Ebonyi State, Hon. Ugwuocha Okoroafor, his treasurer, Christian Chukwu Owo, and the administrative officer, Mrs. Anne Eke Agwu on a fifteen-count charge of conspiracy and stealing of public funds totaling over N25 million.

Okoroafor and his alleged co-conspirators were said to have at various times between 2013 and 2015 raised vouchers for payments ranging from contract awards, salaries  and independence day celebrations in the names of staff of the development center who denied ever authorized such vouchers nor received such funds.

Investigations into the matter which was reported by Center for Prevention of Corruption and Human Right Initiatives and some staff of the development center revealed that the accused persons padded their salaries and that of other staff above the approved limits with the connivance of a staff  of the bank where the local Government is domiciled. 

The sums of N16 million and N8 million were at some times traced to the accused person’s account which on interrogation and owing to their known source of income they could not justify.  

When the charges were read to them, all the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by Mr. Michael Ani and Mr. M.M. Gwani on behalf of the Commission prompting the defense counsel to the 1st and 2nd 3rd accused persons, M.O. Njoko, B.O Igwenyi (SAN) respectively to submit affidavits supporting applications for bail for their clients praying while the court for flexible conditions.

The court thereafter, granted bail to each of the accused persons to the tune of N500,000 and one surety each in like sum. The surety the Judge ruled, must be a resident of the State, who  has a landed property within the State and must present evidence of at least three-year  tax payment.

The matter has been adjourned to 21st of September 2016 for the commencement of  the trial.

 

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