$4,095 SEC Fraud: You Have Case To Answer, Court Tells Hembe, Azubogu
Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, Hon. Herman Hembe and his deputy, Hon. Chris Azubogu who are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for a $4,095 estacode scam, have a case to answer. An
FCT High Court, Abuja presided over by Justice Peter Kekemeke today, June 26, 2013 ruled that a prima facie case has been established against the lawmakers by the anti-graft agency.
The duo allegedly converted the sum of $4,095 given to them as estacode to attend a conference in Dominican Republic to personal use and failed to attend the conference, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 308 of the Penal Code Act Laws of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, 1990.
Counsel to the accused persons J.S Okutepa, SAN and Onyenchi Ikpeazu, SAN in separate arguments at the last adjourned date contended that estacode is money meant for a public servant who travels overseas. They argued that once the money is approved and the officer embarks on the journey, the money becomes his. They therefore wondered how a man can misappropriate what belongs to him, and prayed the court to dismiss the charge preferred against their client as lacking in merit.
However, prosecuting counsel, Chile Okoroma urged the court to discountenance the arguments of the defence counsel. According to him, the fundamental issue for determination is whether
or not the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants to warrant some form of explanation from them. He stated that from the evidence before the court, it had been established that the accused persons have a case to answer.
In his ruling, Justice Kekemeke upheld the argument of the prosecution that a prima facie case had been established against the defendants and adjourned proceedings to October 21, 2013.
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