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ICPC arraigns former court registrar and wife over money laundering

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Relatef Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned a former staff of the judiciary and his wife before a competent court over money laundering.

In a statement released by the Anti-graft commission, it stated that a former Registrar with the Kaduna Division of the Federal High Court of Justice (FHCJ), Mr. Joseph Etefia Udoh and his wife, Mrs. Grace Udoh were arraigned before Justice Mallong Peter Hoommuck on 12 counts.

According to reports, Mr. Udoh is alleged to have misappropriated an amount exceeding N80 million from money that had been deposited in the court by a litigant. He reportedly issued cheques in the name of his wife who was also a staff of the FHCJ but in Abuja, and used the money to acquire properties in some major cities across Nigeria.

When the charges were read to the defendants, they however pleaded not guilty. Their counsel Chief S. M. Essienakak told the court that they had served the prosecution with a bail application and prayed the court to grant them bail on non-stringent conditions, as they would not evade bail.

While reacting to the allegations, the counsel to ICPC, Shehu Yahaya, fsi, strongly opposed the bail application on the grounds that the attitude of the defendants suggested that if they were granted bail, they might interfere with the processes as four of the witnesses to be called by the prosecution were members of staff of the Kaduna Division of FHCJ, where one of the defendants had served as a Registrar.

After listening to arguments of counsel on both sides, the judge granted the defendants bail in the sum of Ten Million Naira (=N=10,000,000:00) only, with two sureties in like sum who must be members of the legal profession and must own properties in a Government Reserved Area in Kaduna.

The matter was adjourned to 28th, 29th, and 30th January, 2020 for continuation of hearing.

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