Benue lawmaker, others on trial over alleged N107b fraud

Court grants suspects bail
A member of the Benue House of Assembly and four others are on trial for allegedly defrauding the state of N107 billion.

The accused are part of 52 persons indicted by the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Commission, set up by Governor Samuel Ortom, to probe eight years of the administration of former governor, Gabriel Suswam.

Dr. Kester Kyenge (Logo constituency), who has been in custody at Makurdi prison, was granted bail yesterday by a Federal High Court in the state capital.

The others, also granted bail, are the former chairmen of Ado and Ukum local government councils, Mr. Alex Ogaba and Mr. David Sev-Av; and Mr. Terfa Bosua and Andrew Ayande, both aides to Suswam.

The presiding judge, Justice Joseph Aneke, said: “For the nature and gravity of the offence, their protection and medication, I admit them for bail on strenuous conditions.”

He granted bail in the sum of N100 million each to the five accused persons, amounting to N500 million with five sureties in like sum. The justice also ordered that each of the sureties be highly placed persons, must be resident in Makurdi, and must have a landed property therein. He required the sureties to deposit the original copies of the certificates of occupancy of their properties and two recent passports, and evidence of recent tax certificates.

Aneke fixed November 14, 2017 for further mention of the case.

Leading counsel to the defendants, Barrister Innocent Daa’Gba, expressed satisfaction with the judge’s decision, saying: “I believe that at the end of the day, we should be able to produce the requirements for their release. I have confidence in my clients that they would not disappoint me and that they will always make themselves available anytime they are required to do so.”



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