The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama, Abuja, on Friday, ordered the remand of a former Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged N109 billion fraud charges.
This was after the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC), arraigned Mr. Idris alongside three others – Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.
They all pleaded not guilty to the 14 charges when read to them during the hearing before the trial judge, O A. Adeyemi-Ajayi.
Earlier before the defendants took their plea, the prosecuting lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), asked the judge to grant the prosecution leave to prefer a criminal charge under section 109 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) (ACJA) against them.
The judge, Ms. Adeyemi-Ajayi, granted the application as prayed by the prosecution.
Then a court official read out the 14 counts, which the defendants denied.
After the pleas of the defendants were taken, Mr. Idris’ lawyer, Chris Uche, also a senior advocate, made an oral application for the bail of his client.
However, Mr. Jacobs opposed oral bail application, insisting that it must be done in writing.
But Mr. Uche pleaded for the release of his client pending the filing of a written application for his bail.
He urged the court to consider that the defendants had been on administrative bail granted him by the EFCC.
“Since there is no complaint that they have breached any of the conditions, they should be allowed to continue on that bail,” Uche said.
In a ruling, the judge held that “the court is not a puppet to dance to the rhythm of public opinion.
“In the interest of justice for all, they are remanded in prison custody,” Ms Adeyemi-Ajayi said.
The suit was adjourned until July 27 for the hearing of the defendants bail application.
NAN reported in May how Mr. Idris was apprehended in Kano, following his refusal to honour EFCC’s invitation concerning alleged fraud investigation.
Subsequently, Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed informed Mr. Idris of his suspension, in a letter dated May 18.
His suspension is without pay, Mrs. Ahmed’s letter stated.
The suspension, Mrs. Ahmed said, was in line with Public Service Rules to give room for proper and unhindered investigation.
This paper reported in June how the anti-graft agency confiscated multi-billion naira assets linked to Mr. Idris’ suspected proceeds of crime.