The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on November 26, 2018 arraigned Hajiya Mauro Z. Usman, Mohammed Sani Agae, Isa Alhaji Chado and Jonah Ihie before Justice Aisha Bwari of the Niger State High Court, Minna, on a five-count charge bothering on criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and issuance of dud cheque.
The defendants were previously scheduled for arraignment on November 8, 2018 but it was stalled due to the absence of Ihie, the fourth defendant.
The EFCC had through its Economic Government Unit, received a petition against some staff of the Government House Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Minna, Niger State, in 2016.
Investigations into the petition revealed that on September 25, 2012 the petitioner’s company, First Concept Limited went into contract agreement with the Cooperative Society to supply them with 3,000 bags of 50kg Indian Parboiled Rice to their staff as their Christmas bonus for the year 2012. The supply was to be at N11,000 per bag which totalled N33 million.
However, Usman being one of the signatories to the account conspired with the other defendants to forge signatures of the cooperative account in a bid to divert the alleged sum to their personal use.
One of the charges reads: “That you Hajiya Mario Z. Usman (while being the signatory to account no 1340024555 belonging to Government House Staff Multi- Purpose) on or about the 10th day of January, 2013, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with knowledge that you had insurgents funds in your account issued to First Concept Limited with Bank PHB (Now Keystone Bank) cheque dated 10/01/13, for the sum of N9,000,000 (Nine Million Naira) which was dishonoured due to insufficient funds in your account and hereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and punishable under section 1 (1) (b) (i) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D 11, Laws of the Federation, 2004.”
Defence counsel, Musa Suleiman referring to the motion on notice dated November 21, 2018 for the bail application requested for bail after the defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges against them.
In response, Counsel to EFCC, Halidu Mohammed, said he had concerns that the defendants may jump bail if granted bail due to the previous absence of the fourth defendant.
“The accused persons having taken their plea, we will like to request for a date to open our defence,” Mohammed added.
Justice Bwari, thereafter adjourned the case to January 24, 2019 while setting the bail conditions to N1 million and two sureties each in like sum.