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N7m Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Former NPC Commissioner in Imo State

Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned a former Imo State Commissioner for National Population Commission, NPC, over N7,000,000.00 (seven million naira) land scam and fraud.

EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde

EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde

The former Commissioner who was arraigned on a one count charge of Advance Fee Fraud at the Federal High Court, Owerri, Imo State on Wednesday had allegedly converted and sold a property belonging to the Federal Government for N7,000,000.00.

The charge reads thus: that you Joe C. Ndu, on or about the 29th December 2011 in Owerri, Imo State, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of seven Million Naira under false pretence.

“That you (and two others) have the mandate and consent of the National Population Commission to sell National Population Commission landed Property located at Plot 5028 Commercial Area, New Owerri, Owerri, Imo State, covered by statutory certificate of Occupancy dated 27th May 2011, registered as No. 90 page 90 volume of Lands Registry, Imo State which pretence, you knew to be false and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offenses Act, 2006 and Punishable under section 1(13)of the same Act.

The scam was brought to fore through a petition by the current Director-General of National Population Commission, NPC, Mr. J. D. Zubena.

Mr. Zubena in his complaint alleged that the Imo State Government allocated the piece of land located at plot 5028, commercial Area, New Owerri to the NPC and it was covered by a statutory certificate of occupancy dated 27th May, 2011 and registered as 90/90/360 of land registry, Owerri to be used for the construction of the Commission’s State office.

But by the time the Commission was ready to develop the land, it was discovered that someone had developed the property.

According to NPC, a research conducted at the lands registry Owerri revealed that the land has been transferred by Chief Joe C. Ndu, the suspect via Power of Attorney dated 29th December, 2011, to one Emmanuel C. Eke.

The findings further show that the sale of the property was conducted after Chief Joe C. Ndu had completed his tenure as the Federal Commissioner representing Imo State at the National Population Commission.

When the charge was read to the accused, Chief Joe C. Ndu, before Justice S. M. Shuiabu of the Federal High Court, Owerri, he pleaded not guilty.

The prosecuting counsel Mainforce Adaka Ekwu, then asked the court to fix a date for trial following the ‘not guilty plea’ but the counsel to the accused N. A. Nnawuchi (SAN) objected and asked the court to grant bail to the accused based on the fact that he was not given prior notice that he was to be in court on Wednesday.

The presiding judge, Justice S.M. Shuiabu, had asked the counsel to the accused to send in a written application for bail before he could consider any option.

He however, adjourned the case to October 30, 2013 for consideration of bail application and remanded the accused in EFCC custody


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