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EFCC arraigns businessman over N48m fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a businessman, Edrian Osagie Ididia, over alleged involvement in N84 million fraud.

Mr Ididia was arraigned before Justice Serifat Solebo of the Special Offences Court, sitting in lkeja, on a two-count charge of fraud and stealing of the said sum.

On the first count, the EFCC accused Mr Ididia of obtaining money by false pretence contrary to Sections 1(1) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.

He was alleged to have obtained the money “with intent to defraud” one Mark David Umeh on the falsehood that he had three Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for sale in September 2019.

The anti-graft agency, on the second count, accused the defendant of stealing contrary to Sections 278 and 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, No 11, 2011.

The judge read “Adrian Osagie Ididia, between the 13th day of September 2019 and the 29th day of October 2019 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly stole and converted to use, the sum of N84,000,000 (eighty-four million nairas only) being property of Mr Mark David Umeh.”

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Based on his not guilty plea, the EFCC counsel, Muhammad Hussain urged the court to remand the defendant in prison and also fix a date for trial.

But the defence lawyer, Victor Chinedu informed the court that he had filed and served his client’s bail application.

He, therefore, urged the court to grant him leave to move the application, a request which was not opposed by the EFCC’s counsel.

While moving the application, Mr Chinedu urged the court to admit the defendant to bail because he had been granted bail by a Federal High Court in a similar matter.

He maintained that the defendant was ready to stand trial and would not jump bail if his request was granted by the court.

But the prosecutor prayed the court not to admit the defendant to bail because he has no fixed address in Nigeria.

He, however, cautioned that if the court was willing to grant the bail, it should impose such terms that would compel the defendant to appear in court for trial.

Ruling on the arguments, Justice Solebo ordered that Mr Ididia be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Centre, pending the determination of his bail application.

Subsequently, the court reserved ruling till February 11.

Reporting by Wahab Akinlade; Editing by Tola Oguneye and Tony Okerafor