Ex-Accountant General, Ahmed Idris re-arraigned before new judge over alleged 109bn fraud

The suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, and three others have been re-arraigned before a new judge at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.

Recall that, the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on July 22, arraigned Idris, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman, and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited before the same court, on 14 count charges bordering on gratification, stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109,485,572,691.

On Thursday, July 28, 2022, the presiding judge, Justice Adeyemi Ajayi, in his ruling granted Idris and other co-defendants bail.

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However, at the re-arraignment before Justice Y. Halilu, on Wednesday, EFCC’s lawyer, O.A. Atolagbe, told the court that the case was initially before his “learned brother”, who was a vacation judge but has now been reassigned to him for re-arraignment.

All defendants maintained their innocence when the registrar read the counts on Wednesday.

Idris’ lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN) urged the judge to uphold the earlier bail granted to his client by the court. Other lawyers including the prosecution did not raise objections to the bail plea.

They had been following their bail conditions, he claimed. The attorneys for the others accused joined Uche’s application and submission.

Oluwaleke Atolagbe, the EFCC Counsel, did not raise any objections to the application. But he let the court use its discretion in making the choice.

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Justice Halilu decided the application and ruled that a defendant’s right to bail is protected by the constitution.

He continued by saying that since he had already been given bail by the court, he was inclined to favorably permit the defendants to continue enjoying the early bail that had been granted to them. However, he instructed the defendants to give the court registrar their passports.

The judge further said that the prosecution should give the documents to the registrar if they are present. The case was postponed until a hearing on November 23 by Justice Halilu.

he EFCC claimed that between February and December 2021, Idris accepted N15 billion in gratification from Akindele as a means of accelerating the payment of 13% derivation to the nine oil-producing states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

The first and second defendants allegedly converted N84. 3 billion from the federal government’s account between February and November 2021, according to the anti-graft agency.

Sections 155 and 315 of the Penal Code Act, Cap. 532 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, according to the EFCC, were violated by the offense.

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