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Alleged N54.3m Fraud: Court fixes date for trial of NEMA director

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An FCT High Court in Maitama on Tuesday fixed June 27 to begin the trial of an Acting Director, Special Duties in the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Emenike Umesi, charged with misappropriating N54.3 million.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Mr Umesi with four counts of misappropriation of public funds.

Justice Jude Okeke granted an adjournment after the new EFCC counsel, N.M. Tertsua, told the court that Deborah Ademu-Etteh, who was handling the case, has been transferred to Kaduna.

Mr Okeke said that he allowed the adjournment because the prosecution prayed for it for the first time.

Mrs Tertsua prayed for an adjournment to enable her to produce documents which would be tendered as exhibit.

Objecting to the application, Japh Njikonye, defendant’s counsel, said the excuse given was “frivolous” according to Section 396 (6) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2019. He, therefore, asked for a cost.

He said the section stated that ‘in all circumstances, the court should award reasonable cost to discourage application for adjournments’ and asked for a cost of N50, 000.

NAN reports that the EFCC alleged that on December 30, 2014, Mr Umesi while serving as the Acting Director, Special Duty in NEMA, misappropriated N12.8 million meant for the agency’s operations.

EFFC said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 19 of Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendant, serving as deputy director in charge of the South-South Zone of NEMA on Feb. 29, 2012, converted the sum of N7 .5 million meant for the agency ‘s operations to his personal use.

Keep Naira clean

The EFCC also accused Mr Umesi of converting N17.9 million and N16.1 million in March 2012 and October 14, 2013 respectively to his personal use.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

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