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‘N1.85bn fraud’: ICPC arraigns REA official — fourth in nine days

Hanrrietta Okojie, an employee of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), was arraigned, on Friday at a federal high court in Abuja over her alleged involvement in a N1.85 billion fraud.

Okojie was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a four-count charge.

Okojie is among four officials of REA being prosecuted by the ICPC for alleged N1.85 billion fraud.

On June 6, Usman Kwakwa, another employee of REA, was arraigned for allegedly stealing N298 million through the agency’s payment platform.

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The judge issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Umar Laraye, Emmanuel Titus, and Okojie after Osuobeni Akponimisingha, ICPC counsel, moved an oral application following their absence in court.

The judge then scheduled June 13 for ICPC to produce Laraye and Titus in court, while Okojie’s case was fixed for June 14.

On June 13, Laraye and Titus were arraigned on separate four-count charges and remanded in prison pending the hearing and determination of their bail applications.

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At the court session on Friday, Akponimisingha asked the court to vacate the June 6 arrest warrant against Okojie since she was in court.

Emeka Nwite, the presiding judge, agreed and vacated the order.

After the four-count charge was read to her, Okojie pleaded not guilty, and Akponimisingha applied for a trial date.

But Okojie’s lawyer, Ishiaku Garba, told the court that a bail application had been filed and served on the prosecution on June 11.

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Akponimisingha said while the application was served in his office on Tuesday, he only saw it on Thursday and would need time to respond.

He asked for more time to be allowed to respond in the interest of a fair hearing.

The judge agreed and adjourned the case to June 20.

Nwite also ordered Okojie to be remanded in the Suleja Correctional Centre pending the hearing and determination of her bail.

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In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/203/24, Okojie was alleged to have received N342 million in different tranches under the false pretence of project supervision.

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