James Ibechi

Alleged N500m fraud: EFCC arraingns BSIEC boss, scribe, others

The Makurdi Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Tuesday June 29, 2021, arraigned the Chairman, Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), Look Tersoo Joseph.
Arranged alongside were the Secretary, Serki Mtomba Manaseh; the Treasurer, Akange Akula and five other members/Commissioners: Abe Aboyi Augustine, Donald Kertyo, Agber Aondona Emmanuel, Sunday Agbaji, and Ekoja Daniel before Justice Abdu Dogo of the Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State.

The defendants were docked on a 23-count charge bordering on conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation, forgery and money laundering to the tune of N500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira only).
Count one of the charge reads:
“That you Hon. Look Tersoo Joseph, the Chairman of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), Hon. Serki Mtomga Manasseh, the Secretary of BSIEC, Hon. Akange Akula, the Chief Accountant of BSIEC, Hon. Abe Aboyi Augustine, the Commissioner for Planning, Research & Documentation of BSIEC, Hon. Barr. Donald Kertyo, the Commissioner for Operations of BSIEC, Hon. Agber Aondona Emmanuel, the Commissioner for Works & Transport of BSIEC, Hon. Sunday Agbaji, the Commissioner for Information & Public Affairs of BSIEC, Hon. Ekoja Daniel, the Commissioner for Finance of BSIEC, sometime between February to June, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”.
Count three reads:
“That you Hon. Look Tersoo Joseph, the Chairman of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), on or about the 28th day of May, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) through one of your Administrative Officer, Aungwa Dominic, which sum exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”.
Count four reads: “That you Hon. Serki Mtomga Manasseh, the Secretary of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), on or about the 16th day of March, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of Thirty-Two Million Naira (32,000,000.00) through your Confidential Secretary, Tsetim Christiana, which sum exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges preferred against them.
Based on their pleas, prosecution counsel, Ramiah Ikhanaede asked for a trial date and that all the defendants be remanded in a Correctional Facility.
However, counsel to the defendants, B. A. Iorhegh, presented an oral application, asking the court to admit the defendants to bail on self-recognizance or in the alternative, grant them bail on liberal terms.
Justice Dogo admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N10 million each with one surety in like sum.
Surety must have a fully developed landed property worth N50 million and must be working in Benue State. He must also submit two recent passports photographs and original letters of appointment.
All defendants are banned from travelling outside Nigeria without the knowledge of the Court.
The case was adjourned till September 28, 2021 for the commencement of trial.

Categories: James Ibechi

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