EFFC nabs NULGE chair for diverting members’ N17.5 million in Benue

Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has nabbed the chairman of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Otsapa Ubani Otsapa, of Ado Local Government Chapter, Benue State for allegedly conspiring, abuse of office and diversion of public funds worth N17.5 million while in the office between 2016 and 2019.

The Commission further revealed that the diverted money was contributed by members of the Union in the state for the welfare of members.

Otsapa’s criminal offences were read before Justice Moris Ikpambese of the Benue State High Court, Makurdi.

“That you, Otsapa Ubani Otsapa being Chairman of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ado Chapter, between 2016 and 2019 in Ado Local Government area of Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, was entrusted with the sum of N17,552,400.00 by the NULGE state chapter for the welfare of its members, but dishonestly misappropriated the said sum and thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 312 of the Penal Code (CAP) 124 Laws of Benue State, and punishable under Section 313 of the same Law.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the two-count charges read to him by Justice Ikpambese.

However, George Chia-Yakua, counsel to the EFCC, prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand him in custody pending trial. But the defence counsel, Abraham Aruta, objected the request and applied orally for the bail of his client based on personal recognizance.

Justice Ikpambese, however, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum adding that the surety must be a public officer on grade level 12 and above, and must provide letters of his first appointment and last promotion. He is also to submit a recent passport photograph.

The case was adjourned till December 3, 2020, for hearing.


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