A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia, Benjamin Benedict Apugo, has been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for N36 million fraud.
A statement made available to newsmen in Enugu by the EFCC zonal office said that Apugo was arraigned at the Federal High Court in Umuahia on Tuesday on a three-count charge.
When the charges, which bothered on obtaining substantial amount of money from his victims by false pretence was read, the accused pleaded not guilty.
The Prosecuting counsel, Joshua Saidu, prayed the court to remand Apugo in custody pending his trial.
But, Counsel to the accused, R.M Udechukwu (SAN), prayed the court to uphold the administrative bail his client was enjoying from the EFCC.
Udechukwu said that the defence was in the first instance averse to the arraignment of his client.
He predicated his argument on a pending application at the appellate court challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain the suit.
In his ruling, Justice Daniel Osiagor, granted the accused bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum.
Osiagor said that the sureties must be senior civil servants not less than Deputy Director, adding that one of them must own a landed property within Umuahia urban and must deposit the title documents with the court registrar.
He said that the earlier appeal against the arraignment of the accused had been overtaken by his arrest.
Osiagor directed that the prosecution, defence counsel and court registrar would jointly verify the sureties.
He ordered that Apugo be remanded in prison custody pending fulfillment of his bail conditions.
The matter was adjourned till November 17 and November 18 for trial.
The accused popularly known as ‘B.B. Apugo’ was arrested on September 30 by the EFCC following a warrant of arrest.
The EFCC had, in several occasions accused him of surreptitiously evading arraignment on the charges preferred against him.
He was alleged to have fraudulently sold six plots of land valued at N36 million belonging to the Nigeria Railway Cooperation (NRC) located at Umunwulari Nkata Ibeku Layout, Planning Scheme Umuahia.