Legal Nigeria

Alleged N1.85bn fraud: Court sends two REA officials to prison

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that two officials of the Account and Finance Department at the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Umar Musa Karaye and Emmanuel Titus Pada, be remanded in Kuje prison pending the hearing of their bail application slated for June 20.

Justice Emeka Nwite ordered their remand after they were arraigned on two separate four-count charges in which they were accused of complicity in N1.853 billion fraud in REA.

They were alleged to have misappropriated public funds meant for the provision of electricity to rural communities across the country.

Both officials of the REA pleaded not guilty when the charge, filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), was read to them.

Justice Nwite had on June 6, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Karaye, Pada, and Henrietta Onomen Okojie for their failure to appear in court for the arraignment earlier scheduled for that day.

Karaye and Pada however attended court on Thursday, following which they were arraigned and the arrest warrant vacated upon an application by the prosecuting lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha.

Karaye is the sole defendant in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/202/24, while Pada is the only defendant on the second charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/204/24.

It was learnt that Okojie, named as the sole defendant in another charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/203/2024 will be arraigned on Friday.

Given Karaye and Pada’s plea of not guilty, Akponimisingha applied for a date for the commencement of trial.

Lawyer to Karaye and Pada, Idoko Alhassan told the court that he filed bail applications for his clients, which have since been served on the prosecution.

Akponimisingha however, told the court that he was yet to receive copies of the defendants’ bail applications

Justice Nwite noted that the prosecution was still waiting to respond to the applications.

The judge subsequently adjourned till June 20 for the hearing of the bail applications and to July 10 for the commencement of trial.

Another official of the REA, Usman Ahmed Kwakwa was earlier on June 6 arraigned on a similar four-count charge filed by the ICPC in respect of the alleged fraud in the REA.

Kwakwa pleaded not guilty to the charge and was later granted N50 million bail by Justice Nwite.

Source: The Nation