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Court remand two REA officials over alleged N1.85bn fraud

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Two officials of the Rural Electrification Agency, Emmanuel Pada and Umar Laraye, have been remanded by a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday,over alleged N1.85bn fraud.

According to the PUNCH, the defendants were among four officials of REA being tried for alleged N1.85bn fraud by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.

The two other officials, who are facing separate charges, are Henrietta Okojie (whose arraignment was fixed for today (Friday) and Usman Kwakwa, who was earlier arraigned.

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While Kwakwa was charged with N1.853bn fraud; Karaye was accused of N165m fraud; Okoje, N342m fraud and Titus, N261m fraud.

Justice Emeka Nwite ordered that Pada and Laraye be remanded in custody shortly after their arraignment on Thursday.

The judge had last week issued a warrant for the arrest of Pada, Laraye and Okojie for failing to show up for their arraignment.

At the Thursday proceedings, ICPC lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, noted that Laraye and Pada were present for their arraignment and urged the court to vacate the arrest warrant against them.

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He urged the court to instead ordered the defendants to take their plea.

When the charges were read to them, however, the defendants pleaded not guilty.

The judge ordered that they should be remanded in custody pending while adjourning till June 20 to hear the bail applications filed on their behalf by their lawyer, Idoko Alhassan.

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In the charges, the EFCC accused Titus of defrauding the REA to the tune of N261m.

The ICPC said he received the funds in different tranches under the “false pretence of project supervision” in violation of the Advance Fraud and Other Related Offences Act of 2006.

According to the proof of evidence attached to the charges, the monies were “illegally paid out to the defendants from the Government Integrated Financial Management System without requisite approvals.”

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