The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, November 28,2019 arraigned the quartet of Baba Aliyu, Musa Shuaibu, Joshua Agbaji Unazi and Michael Godwin Okibe before Justice A.B.Aliyu of the Federal High Court, Minna, Niger State on a nine-count charge that borders on conspiracy, forgery and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N22.2million.
The defendants were arrested and arraigned by the Kaduna Zonal Office of the Commission following a petition from one Thomas Ogwu, managing director, Tomgray Engineering Services Limited, who alleged that three of the defendants: Aliyu, Shuaibu, Unazi and Ahmed Abubakar Ismaila(at large), sometime in November 2018 fraudulently convinced him that they work with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development Staff Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Limited, Minna, Niger State and requested for a supply of 1,800 bags of Nigerian parboiled rice, worth N30.6million from his company.
He stated that the defendants paid N8.2million only, upon the supply of the said quantity of rice, adding that since then, all his efforts to get them pay the balance of N22.4million have proved abortive.
This, he said, forced him to approach the ministry with a request for the payment of the balance where he was told that the four defendants were not its staff and that it did not place any order for rice.
One of the count reads: that you Baba Aliyu, Musa Shuaibu and Ismaila Abubakar (now at large) between November and December 2018 in Minna, within the judicial division of this honourable court did conspire amongst yourselves to act, to wit: conspiracy to obtain 859 bags of Nigeria parboiled rice worth N14.6million only being property of Tomgray Engineering Services Limited, when you falsely represented yourselves as staff and members of Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development staff Multi-purpose Cooperative Society, Minna, which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.”
Unazi is alleged to have conspired with Okibe to obtain N1.620,000 (One Million, Six Hundred and Sixty-two Thousand Naira) being proceed from the sale of the 1,800 bags of rice
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge against them, prompting prosecuting counsel Y.J.Matiyak to ask the court for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in custody of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).
Counsels to the four defendants: E.N.Anita, Drisu Ajodo and G.E.Edah respectively, prayed the court to grant bail to their clients.
Additionally, counsel to the second defendant (Shuaibu) told the court that he has filed an application for fundamental human rights abuse, seeking N5million damages for an alleged illegal arrest of his client.
Justice Aliyu adjourned the matter until December 10, 2019 and January 21, 2020 for hearing on the bail application and judgment on the fundamental rights action respectively and ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of NCS.