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ICPC arraigns ASCSN President over alleged N72m fraud

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has arraigned a former President of the Senior Civil Servants Association of Nigeria, ASCSN, Bola Audu, over alleged N72 million fraud.

Audu was arraigned on Thursday before Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on a five-count charge.

He has been expelled as a member and President of ASCSN over anti-union activities.

In the five-count charge, the government accused Audu of alleged embezzlement of N69 million that was meant for the purchase of a sport utility vehicle for the office of the President of ASCSN.

In another charge, the prosecution told the court that Audu allegedly diverted N3 million into the union’s election.

He pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him. His counsel, Babatunde Adewusi, applied that the defendant be granted bail.

Following his not guilty plea, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, an Assistant Chief Legal Officer at the ICPC, opposed the bail application and requested a date for commencement of trial.

“My Lord, we are interested in the defendant attending trial,” Akponimisingha said.

In his reaction, the defendant’s lawyer commended Akponimisingha “for his professional conduct in the handling of the case.”

The judge, Halilu, said bail is a constitutional right of an accused person depending on the nature of the alleged offense.

Halilu noted that a defendant was presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

“The prosecution must lead credible evidence to establish the guilt of a defendant,” the judge said.

In considering Audu’s bail request, the judge said the alleged offenses were bailable.

Subsequently, the judge allowed Audu to bail on the grounds that he produces two sureties who must be directors in the federal civil service.

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The judge added that the directors must produce their letters of employment and promotion to the directorship rank in the civil service.

Halilu said the defendant would be remanded at Kuje Prison in Abuja if he fails to meet the bail condition.

The suit was adjourned until 6 May for commencement of trial.

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