The Makurdi Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned the Chairman of the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission, BSIEC, Loko Tersoo Joseph, and seven others, for fraud.
The BSIEC chairman and others: Serki Mtomba Manasseh (Secretary), Akange Akula (Treasurer), including 5 other members and Commissioners: Abe Aboyi Augustine, Donald Kertyo, Agber Aondona Emmanuel, Sunday Agbaji, and Ekoja Daniel, were arraigned yesterday, 29 June, before Justice Abdu Dogo of the Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State, on a 23-count charge bordering on conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation, forgery and money laundering to the tune of N500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira only).
According to count one of the charge, the defendants, sometime between February and June, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue State, committed a felony “to wit: money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”.
According to Count three, the BSIEC chairman, sometime in May, 2020, in Makurdi, accepted a cash payment of One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) through one of his Administrative Officers, Aungwa Dominic, a sum which exceeded the cash payable to an individual, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”.
In the same vein, the Secretary of the State Electoral Commission, Serki Mtomga Manasseh, was accused of accepting a cash payment of Thirty-Two Million Naira (32,000,000.00) through his Confidential Secretary, Tsetim Christiana, a sum which exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges preferred against them, and based on their pleas, prosecution counsel, Ramiah Ikhanaede asked for a trial date and that all the defendants be remanded in a correctional facility.
However, counsel to the defendants, B. A. Iorhegh, presented an oral application, asking the court to admit the defendants to bail on self-recognizance or in the alternative, grant them bail on liberal terms.
Justice Dogo admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N10 million each with one surety in like sum.
Surety must have a fully developed landed property worth N50 million, must be working in Benue State, and must also submit two recent passports photographs and original letters of appointment.
All defendants were banned from travelling outside Nigeria without the knowledge of the Court, while the case was adjourned till September 28, 2021 for the commencement of trial.