Thursday, September 29, 2022

N5 Billion Fraud: Again, court shifts arraignment of APC chieftain Stella Oduah to November

The lawmaker is facing a fraud charge alongside others in a suit.

• October 20, 2021
Stella Oduah

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday fixed November 22 for the arraignment of ex-Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, over allegations bordering on fraud while she served in the office.

Ms Oduah had been scheduled for arraignment before Justice Inyang Ekwo on Tuesday, but the proceeding could not take place due to a public holiday.

However, a check at the court on Wednesday revealed that the matter, though not on the cause list, had been fixed for November 22 and November 23 for trial.

Justice Ekwo had, on July 12, threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against the former minister if she failed to appear in court by the next adjourned date (October 19).

The judge had given the warning after counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the alleged five billion naira trial against Ms Oduah and eight others Hassan Liman, told the court that Ms Oduah and one other defendant were not in court to take their plea.

The court had earlier fixed February 9 for the arraignment of the former minister but the matter could not be held then since she was not served with the court processes.

The court also fixed April 19 for the arraignment but due to the strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), the matter could not hold.

The lawmaker is facing a fraud charge alongside others in a suit with the number FHC/ABJ/CR/316/20.

The anti-corruption agency is alleging that Ms Oduah misappropriated public funds to the tune of five billion naira while serving as Minister of Aviation.

When the matter was called on the last adjourned date, Mr Liman, who informed that the case was scheduled for arraignment, said the anti-corruption agency had carried out the court order made on February 9.

“On February 22, 2020, my lord made an order of substituted service on the fifth and sixth defendants in the trial.

“We have carried out the order my lord,” he had said.

Ms Oduah, who represents Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, recently defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, from Peoples Democratic Party, the party through which she gained office.

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