EFCC arraigns ex-police paymaster, others for N1.3bn fraud

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A retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ifeoma Okpalugo, has been brought before a Lagos State Special Offences Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged N1.3bn fraud.

Okpalugo is standing trial alongside three others – Olumide Odumosu, Suleiman Tegina and Helen Nwafor, and two companies – Yus Investment Nigeria Limited and Olivia Osmond Nigeria Limited

Newsmen learnt that the retired ACP and the co-defendants had between 2013 and 2014 allegedly diverted the sum of N1,301,334,108.00 belonging to the Nigeria Police Force to their personal use.

Our correspondent learnt that the diverted sum was meant for the payment of the salaries of the officers of the NPF.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, the defendants were arraigned on 14 counts bordering on conspiracy and stealing.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the alleged offences are contrary to Section 409 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011 and the suspects are liable to be punished under Section 285 (1) of the Act.

The charge read in part, “Ogbadu Joseph (now at large), Hassan Paiko Mohammed (now at large), Sule Yusuf Tegina, Olu Odumosu, Helen Nwafor, Okpalugo Ifeoma, Olu Osmond Nigeria Limited and Jemmy Yus Investment Nigeria Limited, sometime in 2013 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired among yourselves to commit felony, to wit: stealing of the sum of N1,301,334,108.00, property of the Nigeria Police Force.

“Ogbadu Joseph (now at large), Hassan Paiko Mohammed (now at large) Olumide Odumosu, between May 21, 2013 and November 29, 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, dishonestly converted for personal use the sum of N6,250,000.00, property of the Nigeria Police Force.”

Oyedepo, who told the court that the pleas of the defendants showed that they had put themselves up for trial, prayed the court for an accelerated hearing.

The defence counsel, O. A. Osinfowora, applied for the bail of the defendants on the grounds that the they were entitled to bail.

He promised that the defendants would not interfere with investigations and that they had never been convicted of any offence.

However, Oyedepo objected to the application, saying the facts contained in the affidavit showed that the defendants could not sustain their application for bail made through their defence counsel.

He added that some of the defendants were still at large and urged the court to order that the arraigned defendants be held in custody pending their trial.

The presiding judge, Justice Sherifat Solebo, adjourned till November 20 for ruling on the bail application and commencement of trial.

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