The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday arraigned three officials of the Abia State Ministry of Finance, over alleged salary padding and money laundering offences, at the Federal High Court, Umuahia.
According to Vanguard, the suspects, Charity Nneoma Ukonu, Udeachara Uche, and Idika were arraigned on 11-count charges bordering on money laundering, stealing and diversion of funds to the tune of N6, 260,321.08 (Six Million, Two Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty One Naira, Eight Kobo only), contrary to Section 18(a), punishable under Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012 (as amended).
The three suspects who are employees of Abia State Government and members of Abia State Salary Verification Committee, allegedly defrauded and stole money from the funds designated for salaries by the State Government to the tune of N6,260,321.08( Six Million, Two Hundred And Sixty Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty One Naira, Eight Kobo only).
Count one and eight of the charges preferred against the defendants, read:
“That you Charity Nneoma Ukonu, Udeachara Uche, Idika Kalu and others sometime in the year 2015 at Umuahia within the jurisdiction of this Court conspired amongst yourselves to do unlawful act to wit: money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(a) and punishable under Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012 (as amended).
“That you Udeachara Uche whilst a member of the Abia State Salary Enhancement and Audit Committee between July to December, 2017 at Umuahia within the jurisdiction of this Court indirectly took possession of the cumulative sum of N1,667,892.43 (One Million Six Hundred Sixty Seven Thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety Two Naira, Forty Three Kobo) transferred from the account of the Abia State Government into the account of your son, Chidiebere Udeachara, a minor and which sum you knew or reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful act, to wit: stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).”
Meanwhile, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
The presiding judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike has ordered the suspects to be remanded at the Umuahia Correctional Centre and adjourned to November 11, 2019, for hearing on their bail application.