By Funke Busari
Alhaji Yahaya Saidu Andarai, a director with the Ministry of Finance,Kebbi State and one Faruk Abubakar Udulu were arraigned in court on Thursday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of an Ikeja High Court for allegedly stealing N64million belonging to Coscharis Motors Ltd entrusted with National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Jega L.G.A, Kebbi state.
Both suspects were said to have converted the said sum into their personal use being the proceeds of AX motorcycles.
Two suspects were docked, others are still at large, before the judge, for a 27 count charge of conspiracy , fraud and stealing preferred against them by the EFCC.
The defendants were said to have converted the said sum into their personal use being the proceed of AX motorcycles property of Coscharis Motors entrusted to them on behalf of Jega National Union Local Government Employees of Kebbi state.
The second defendant, was only charged with two count charge while the first defendant was charged with 27 count charges.
The defendants however pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.
The second defendant who understands only Hausa Language had his charges translated to him in English Language by a Law student, Omar Musa Danbaba who pleaded not guilty to the two count charges against him.
The EFCC counsel, Oluwabumi Abosede, said that the defendants had committed the said offence between August 26, 2009 and August, 2, 2012, in MazaMaza area of Lagos State.
She said that sometime on August 2010, the first defendant stole 20 units of AX motorcycle valued at N2.2million naira only.
EFCC counsel said that on 26th August 2009, with intent to defraud, Andarai converted into personal use the sum of N17million naira.
According to the EFCC, the offence committed is contrary to Section 309 Cap 2 Laws of Lagos state.
In view of the defendants’ plea, an oral application was made by the first defendant’s counsel, Odu Hycinth that the first defendant should be remanded in EFCC’s custody because of his alleged health-related issue pending when he will meet his bail conditions.
He said that Andarai is an hypertensive patient and has been treated once at the Military Hospital at Ikoyi, very close to the EFCC office.
He also said that the first defendant is a very responsible man who is a director with the Ministry of Finance in Kebbi State and still in service of the government, adding that he would be available for trial any time the matter comes up.
Hyacinth further added that the issue of the first defendant not being present will not arise because he is a credible man.
The prosecution counsel said that “I know that the proper place after arraignment is prison custody but I will allow the court to use its discretion because I’m not aware of his health issues.”
However Justice Onigbanjo, said that he is not satisfied with the explanations from the first defendant counsel to allow his client remanded in EFCC custody due to ill-health.
The Investigating Police Officer, IPO was called on to relate what he knew about the alleged medical condition of the first defendant.
He said that he doesn’t see any reason why the first defendant should be taken back to the EFCC’s custody.
Onigbanjo, however granted the two defendants bail in the sum of N2 million, with two sureties each in like sum.
He adjourned the matter to November 20, 2013, for trial.