The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday re-arraigned suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, and three others over alleged N109.5 billion fraud in an FCT High Court, Maitama.
Other defendants are Olusegun Akindele; Mohammed Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.
They were first arraigned on July 22 before a vacation judge, Justice Adeyemi Ajayi on a 13-count charge bordering on misappropriation to the tune of N109.5 billion.
However, upon the resumption of the court, the case was transferred to Justice Yusuf Halilu.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by EFCC.
Following their not-guilty plea, counsel for Idris, Chris Uche, SAN, prayed the court to allow the defendants continue to enjoy the earlier bail granted them by the court on July 28
He submitted that they have been complying with their bail conditions.
Counsel for other defendants aligned themselves with Uche’s application and submission.
The EFCC Counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, did not object to the application.
He, however, left the decision to the court to exercise its discretion.
Ruling on the application, Justice Halilu held that bail is a constitutional right of a defendant.
He added that having been previously granted bail by the court, he is favorably inclined to allow the defendants to continue enjoying the early bail granted them by the court.
He, however, directed that defendants submit their passports to the court’s registrar.
The judge added that if the documents are with the prosecution, it should pass the same to the registrar.
Justice Halilu adjourned the case until Nov. 23 for a hearing.
The EFCC alleged that between February and December 2021 Idris accepted from Akindele, a gratification of N15. 1 billion, which sum was a motive for accelerating the payment of 13 per cent derivation to the nine oil-producing states in the Federation, through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that N84. 3 billion from the federal government’s account was converted by the first and second defendants between Feb. and Nov. 2021.
The EFCC said the offence contravenes sections 155 and 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.
The defendants pleaded not guilty.