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Alleged N676m fraud: EFCC to close case against ex-Minister Moro, others

Alleged N676m fraud: EFCC to close case against ex-Minister Moro, others

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Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday, said it would conclude  its case against the former Minister of Interior, Abbah Moro, and three others after calling two more witnesses.

They are standing trial ‎over the 2014 botched recruitment exercise of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) which resulted in the death of many Nigerians.

Specifically, Moro is being tried with a former Permanent Secretary in the Interior Ministry, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia‎, an ex-director in the ministry, Felix .O Alayebami and a firm, Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited.

The defendants are, in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/42/2016, accused of defrauding 675, 675 graduate applicants of about N675,675,000 having been made to pay N1000 each as processing fees for 5,000 (five thousand) job openings.

The prosecution equally accused of breaching the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the organisation of the recruitment test to Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.

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When the case came up, on Wednesday, lawyer from the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Elizabeth Alabi, announced that the Prosecution had called nine witnesses and planned to call two more to close its case.

Mrs. Alabi told the court that the prosecution would not be able to proceed as planned, on Wednesday, because its 10th witness, Isah Joshua (an operative of the EFCC), called to informed her that he lost his father, late on Tuesday. She sought a fresh date.

“My Lord, the matter is for the continuation of hearing. However, our prepared witness, Isah Joshua, just called that his father died around 8:00p.m. yesterday (Tuesday).

“So far, we have called nine witnesses. This witness was to be our 10th witness. We just have two more to go. He is an investigative officer. He is coming to tender the statement of the Defendants,” Mrs. Alabi said.

The court also could not hear a motion by Mrs. Daniel-Nwobia, for the release of her international passport, to enable her travel to the United Kingdom on medical grounds.

Mrs. Alabi said she was not aware of the motion when Mrs. Daniel-Nwobia’s lawyer, James Odiba, informed the court about the motion, and his willingness to move it.

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The trial judge, Justice Nmandi Dimgba noted that the motion was not properly served on the EFCC.

The judge noted that the motion was served on the commission’s Asset Recovery Management Directorate, as against the Legal Department.

When the judge sought his view, lawyer to Moro, A. T. Kehinde (SAN) said he was served with the motion, but, noted that the appropriate office to serve the prosecution should be at its Legal Department.

He suggested that, since a lawyer was in court for the prosecution, the motion should be served on the lawyer and a date taken for its hearing.

Other lawyers in the case, agreed with the suggestion, following which the judge adjourned to December 4 for continuation of trial.

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