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EFCC arraigns director, 4 others over N1.1bn fraud

…get bail for N250m

ABUJA—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned the Director-General of the National Gallery of Arts, Chief Joe Musa before an Abuja high court sitting for stealing a total N1.1billion belonging to the Federal Government.

Three other principal directors of the National Gallery of Arts together with the Personal Assistant to the embattled Director-General were also arraigned yesterday by the anti-graft agency for alleged complicity.

The four others are Olusegun Ogunba who is the Director of Finance; Dr Ikwueku Tandoh who is the Director, Research and Education; Mrs Oparagu Elizabeth who is the Deputy Director, Administration and Mr Chinedu Obi who is the Special Assistant to the embattled Director General.

They were all accused to have stolen the said sum within three years, spanning August 1, 2006 and April 2009. But they all pleaded not guilty to the charge yesterday.
They also succeeded to procure their bail through an oral application argued on their behalf by their counsel, Mr Valentine Offia. They said  during trial, they would prove to the court that the allegations against them were a mere ruse.

Although their oral application for bail succeeded yesterday, their counsel told the presiding judge, Justice Adebayo Adesina, that it might be impossible for them to meet the bail conditions. He said it was stringent.

Justice Adesina had granted them bail in the sum of N50million each with one surety each in like sum. He said each surety must be a civil servant of level 16 and above with evidence of means. The surety must have landed property worth the bail sum within the jurisdiction of the high court.

The judge also ordered that the accused persons must surrender their travel documents, including local and international passports to the registrar of the court while their trial lasts.

Their counsel, Mr Offia had begged the judge orally to vary the bail conditions, a request which was declined immediately.

Justice Adesina said: ‘I have already granted them bail on conditions. The conditions attached remain my order. I cannot vary it except I am convinced that it would be impossible for them to meet. “But for now, that is my order. It remains my order,” he said yesterday.


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