A former acting director general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Alex Akpa, and other individuals were charged by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) on Wednesday with alleged fraud totaling N400 million.
Before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja, Prof. Akpan, Famous Daunemigha, an ex-member of the NABDA Governing Board, and Wesley Ebi Siasia, an ex-Director of Finance and Accounts of the agency, were charged on four counts in an amended complaint.
The three of them who are 1st to 3rd defendants respectively, however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Counsel to the anti-corruption commission, O.G. Iwuagwu, informed that seven witnesses had been lined up to testify against the defendants.
Justice Ekwo consequently admitted them to bail on terms of the administrative bail earlier granted them by the commission.
Ekwo directed that all the particulars of the defendants be forwarded to the court registrar within seven days of the order.
The judge, who warmed the defendants against breaching the bail conditions, said the trial would be on a day-to-day basis.
The ICPC had alleged that the defendants, sometime in August 2020, within the court jurisdiction while being public officers, indirectly took possession of the sum of N400 million meant for the establishment of four Bioresources Development Centers in four states of the federation.
The commission accused Akpa in count two of indirectly taking possession of the sum of N260 million being part of the sum of N400 million.
While the ICPC accused Daunemigha of embezzling N50 million from the N400 million, Siasia was alleged to have taken possession of N40 million from the amount.
The commission said the act contravened Section 18 (2) (d) and punishable under Section 18 (3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.
He adjourned the matter until March 6, March 7, March 8, March 9 and March 10 for trial.(NAN)