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EFCC takes Igbinedion to court over N25b fraud

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday at the Federal High Court, Benin Division preferred a  58-count charge of unlawful conversion and criminal diversion of N25 billion against former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion during his reign in office. EFCC’ Head of Media, Femi Babafemi confirmed the development, but declined details.  But a source within the commission said Igbinedion’s trial is expected to commence next week.He added that should the former Governor fail to appear for trial, the commission would proceed with legal processes to track and arrest him.        
 
He said the 58-count charge against Igbinedion had formed a legal premise for the commission to solicit the assistance of the International Police (INTERPOL) in tracking and arresting him.
 
The source, who said the anti-graft agency has already issued a watch-list signal round Nigerian borders regarding the former governor said the commission is confident that Igbinedion would be nabbed soon.
“We have placed him (Igbinedion) on a watch-list around Nigerian border towns and that decision to declare him wanted is a prelude to issuing an international arrest warrant on him to enable INTERPOL track him down wherever he is hiding in the world”, he explained.
He said: “Under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) there is hardly any hiding place in the world for criminals and this fact is reinforced by how effective the INTERPOL has been over the years.”                                      
He pointed to how Igbinedion’s counterpart in Delta, Chief James Onanefe Ibori was arrested in Dubai by INTERPOL after fleeing from Nigeria in a bid to avoid trial. He said a similar fate may befall Igbinedion whom he said sneaked out of the country last December when he got wind that EFCC had launched a fresh investigation against him. The former governor is alleged to have converted $6.2 million shares of the Edo State Government in AFRIBANK to his own while in office.
“Also, N120 million worth of  shares of the state in Access Bank became Igbinedion’s equity without the approval of the House of Assembly or any law backing such a deal”, the source added.
The ex-governor also allegedly diverted over N300 million belonging to the state to himself to purchase Sheraton Hotel in Benin.
“We have uncovered how Igbinedion used state funds to acquire properties in Abuja, Sierra-Leone, Benin-City, London among others”, he stated.

He said: “We sent an invitation to him for a routine interaction but he had an  inkling that maybe we had new allegations against him and he quietly sneaked out of the country.”

-Guardian

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Posted by on Feb 2 2011. Filed under EFCC Politics, Latest Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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