By Thomas Orgah,Benue
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday arraigned the chairman of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ado Local Government chapter, Benue State, Otsapa Ubani Otsapa for alleged N17.5 million fraud.
Ubani was arraigned by the Makurdi zonal office of the commission before Justice Moris Ikpambese of the Benue State High Court, Makurdi on a two-count charge of alleged criminal conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of public funds to the tune of N17.5million.
Counts one read: “That you, Otsapa Ubani Otsapa being Chairman of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ado Chapter, between 2016 and 2019 in Ado Local Government area of Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, was entrusted with the sum of N17,552,400.00 (Seventeen Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Two Thousand, Four Hundred Naira only) by the NULGE state chapter for the welfare of its members, but dishonesty misappropriated the said sum and thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 312 of the Penal Code (CAP) 124 Laws of Benue State, and punishable under Section 313 of the same Law”
The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges.
Consequently, EFCC counsel, George Chia-Yakua prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand him in custody pending trial, But the defence counsel, Abraham Aruta, applied orally for the bail of his client on self recognizance.
Justice Ikpambese, however, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum. The surety must be a public officer on grade level 12 and above, and must provide letters of his first appointment and last promotion. He is also to submit a recent passport photograph.
The case was adjourned till December 3, 2020 for hearing.
Trouble started for Ubani following a petition received by the commission, alleging that he diverted the sum of N17,552,400 contributed by members of the union in the state for the welfare of members.