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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has issued a bench warrant for three staff of the Account and Finance Department of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) after they failed to appear in court for a multi-million-naira fraud case brought by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The ICPC had charged four REA employees with allegedly receiving about one billion naira under the pretence of false project supervision.
When the cases were called on Thursday before Justice Emeka Nwite, Henrietta Onormen Okojie, Umar Musa Karaye, and Emmanuel Pada Titus were absent and they were not represented by any counsel.
ICPC counsel Dr. Osuobeni Ekoi Akponimisingha informed the court that the defendants were duly served and notified of their arraignment but chose not to appear.
The ICPC Counsel citing Sections 114 and 184 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, requested an arrest warrant for all three accused persons to ensure the defendants’ presence at the next court date.
Justice Nwite granted the request, issuing arrest warrants and ordering the prosecution to enforce them.
The presiding judge thereafter set for June 13, 2024, for the arraignment of Musa Karaye and Emmanuel Pada Titus, and June 14, 2024, for Hanrrietta Onormen Okojie respectively.
In a related development, another REA staff member, Usman Ahmed Kwakwa, appeared in court for an alleged N298 million fraud charge. The ICPC accused Kwakwa of defrauding the REA by receiving the said sum under false project supervision.
Count 1 of the charge states: “That you, USMAN AHMED KWAKWA (M), sometime in March 2023, while being a public officer at the Rural Electrification Agency in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, received N298,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Ninety-Eight Million Naira) in different tranches under the false pretence of project supervision, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”
Kwakwa pleaded not guilty to the charges. His counsel, S.S. Jipan, applied for bail, which the prosecution did not oppose, though they requested conditions to ensure the defendant’s presence at trial.
Justice Nwite granted Kwakwa a N50 million bail and adjourned the case to July 16, 2024, for the trial’s commencement.
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