A Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, Chief Benjamin Apugo, was yesterday remanded in prison custody by the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, over an alleged N36 million fraud. All charges were brought up by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Specifically, he was alleged to have illegally sold six plots of land belonging to the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, at Umunwulari Nkata Ibeku layout, Planning Scheme Umuahia for N36 million.
The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charges prompting the prosecution team led by Joshua Saidu to apply for a trial date while praying that the defendant be remanded in prison custody pending trial.
However, Apugo’s counsel, R.M. Udechukwu, SAN, who had earlier argued against the docking of his client because they had filed a case challenging the jurisdiction of the court at the appellate court was rejected by the court. He asked the court to allow Apugo continue on the administrative leave granted him by the EFCC.
After an exhaustive argument between the prosecution and defence counsel, each relying on several affidavits and counter-affidavits, the court eventually granted the defendant bail to the tune of N10 million and two sureties in like sum.
The two Sureties, the court stated must be senior civil servants of not less than deputy director with one of them having a landed property within Umuahia metropolis which title documents must be deposited with the court registrar.
The judge further directed that both counsel together with the court registrar shall also verify the sureties and ordered Chief Apugo to be remanded in prison custody pending fulfilment of bail conditions.
Earlier, Apugo had arrived the court with several security vehicles and six armed anti-riot policemen from the Special Protection Unit of the Nigeria Police, a development which prompted the judge to order them to move out of the court premises citing security concerns.
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