The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, arraigned former coordinating director of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Peter Hena, before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a federal high court in Abuja.
Eight other officers of the agency were also brought before the court.
The others are Mohammed Bello Auta (Director of Finance), Amina Sidi (Finance and Account department), Umar Aliyu Aduka (Internal Audit), Mbura Mustapha (Deputy Manager), Obi Okeke Malachy (Services Group), Obaje Napoleon Adofu (Head of Budget), Udo-Inyang Effiong Alfred (Officer II) and Benjamin Jiya (Assistant Director).
They were docked on a 42-count charge bordering on corruption, fraud and criminal misappropriation of funds to the turn of N4.5 billion.
Count one of the charge reads:
“That you, Peter Hena, Mohammed Bello Auta, Amina Sidi, Umar Aliyu Aduka, Mbura, Mustapha, Obi Okeke Malachy, Obaje Napoleon Adofu, Udo-Inyang Effiong Alfred and Benjamin Jiya while being staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) between January, 2017 and December 2018 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired together with the other officials of FIRS to conceal funds which are proceeds of an unlawful activities to wit: Corruption, Fraud and Criminal Misappropriation of Funds and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18 and punishable under section 15(2) (a) and (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 ( as amended by Act No. 1 of 2021)”
The defendants, however, pleaded “not guilty”.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, Ekele Iheanacho asked the court for a date to commence trial.
The defendants through their counsel prayed the court to grant them bail.
Justice Ojukwu granted them bail in the sum of N100 million each and sureties in like sum. The sureties, who must be Nigerians residing in Abuja with landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, are also to provide evidence of tax clearance.
The judge also ruled that defendants are to deposit their travelling documents with the court and to seek the permission of the court before travelling out of the country.
The matter was adjourned till June for commencement of trial.