‘N4.5bn Fraud’: EFCC Re-Arraigns FIRS Directors

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned three directors and some other officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) over allegations of N4.5 billion fraud.

The officials are Peter Hena, a former Coordinating Director; Mohammed Bello Auta (Director of Finance) and Amina Sidi (Finance and Account Department).

Others are Umar Aliyu Aduka (Internal Audit), Mbura Mustapha (Deputy Manager), Obi Okeke Malachy (Services Group), Obaje Napoleon Adofu (Head of Budget), Udo-Inyang Effiong Alfred (Officer II) and Benjamin Jiya (Assistant Director).

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, who disclosed this, said their re-arraignment followed the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu.

They were arraigned before Justice Toyin Bolaji Adegoke of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The defendants were docked on a 42-count charge bordering on corruption, fraud and criminal misappropriation of funds.

Count one of the charge read, “That you, Peter Hena, Mohammed Bello Auta, Amina Sidi, Umar Aliyu Aduka, Mbura, Mustapha, Obi Okeke Malachy, Obaje Napoleon Adofu, Udo-Inyang Effiong Alfred and Benjamin Jiya while being staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) between January, 2017 and December 2018 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired together with the other officials of FIRS to conceal funds which are proceeds of unlawful activities to wit: Corruption, Fraud and Criminal Misappropriation of Funds and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18 and punishable under section 15(2) (a) and (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 ( as amended by Act No. 1 of 2021).”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Bolaji granted them bail on the terms earlier offered them by Justice Ojukwu, and fixed September 28, 2021 for commencement of trial.

Justice Ojukwu had, upon their arraignment on Thursday, March 11, 2021, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N100m each and sureties in like sum.

The sureties who must be Nigerian residing in Abuja with landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, are also to provide evidence of Tax Clearance.

She also asked the defendants to deposit their travelling documents with the court and seek the permission before travelling out of the country.

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