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N36 Million Land Scam: EFCC Arraigns APC Chieftain In Court


By Ignatius Okpara

UMUAHIA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday arraigned a chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Prince Benjamin Benedict Apugo before Justice Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Umuahia Abia State on a three count charge bothering on obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N36.000,000.00 (Thirty Six Million Naira Only)

Apugo pleaded not guilty to the charges prompting the Prosecution team led by Bar. Joshua Saidu, to apply for a trial date while, praying that the defendant be remanded in prison custody pending trial.

Reacting, the defense counsel submission, R.M Udechukwu (SAN) whose earlier argument against the docking of his client on the ground that they have a case challenging the jurisdiction of the court at the appellant court and which was punctured by the Judge who reasoned that his appeal had been overtaken by the arrest of Chief Apugo, then pleaded that the defendant be permitted to continue the administrative bail granted him by EFCC.

After an exhaustive bail argument between the prosecution and defense counsels, each relying on several pages and paragraphs of affidavit and counter-affidavit, the court eventually granted the defendant bail to the tune of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira Only) and two sureties in like sum.

The two sureties, the court insists must be senior civil servants not less than deputy director with one of them having a landed property within Umuahia metropolis who must deposit the title documents with the court registrar.

The judge further directed that both counsels together with the court registrar shall also verify the sureties and ordered Chief Apugo to be remanded in prison custody pending fulfillment of bail conditions.

Earlier, Apugo had stormed the court with several security vehicles and about six armed mobile policemen from the special protection units of the Nigeria Police, a development prompting the judge to demand that they move out of the court premises citing security concerns.

Chief Apugo’s arraignment was sequel to his arrest on Friday September 30th, 2016 by EFCC following a warrant issued by the court which considered his numerous attempt to evade taking a plea on the charge preferred against him.

He was alleged to have fraudulently sold six (6) plots of land valued at N36.000,000 (Thirty Six Million Naira Only) belonging to the Nigeria Railway Cooperation located at Umunwulari Nkata Ibeku layout, Planning Scheme Umuahia.

The matter has been adjourned to 17th and 18th November for trial.

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