EFCC Arraigns Director for Allegedly Stealing N30m HIV/AIDS Funds

EFCC Arraigns Director for Allegedly Stealing N30m HIV/AIDS Funds

EFCC Arraigns Director for Allegedly Stealing N30m HIV/AIDS Funds

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned one Dr. Nkereuwem Akpan Etok before Justice A. A. Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on a 5-count charge bordering on abuse of office and money laundering.

The accused who doubles as the Director and Project Manager of Akwa Ibom State Agency for Control of AIDS, was arrested on Thursday, May 23, 2019, following series of reports of how he embezzled N30m (Thirty Million Naira), released to his agency in 2018, by the office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Akwa Ibom State, for outreach, sensitization, HIV testing/counselling and purchase of screening and confirmatory test tie breaker.

Investigations into the matter revealed that the accused used less than N6, 000, 000 for the purpose for which the N30, 000, 000 was released and diverted the rest of the funds for personal purposes.

One of the counts against the accused reads, “That you Dr. Nkereuwem Akpan Etok between 26th and 28th November, 2018 at Uyo within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, while being Director and Project Supervisor of Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of AIDS did convert a total sum of N24,700,200.00 (Twenty-four million, seven hundred thousand, two hundred naira only) knowing that the said fund is a proceed of your unlawful act and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended)”.

He pleaded not guilty to the 5 counts.

In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Adebayo Soares, prayed the court to remand the accused in prison and fix a date for trial.

The court then adjourned to October 16 and 17, 2019, and also ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody.

Similarly, Justice Okeke remanded two others, Ekerette Emmanuel and Christopher Uko Ebong, for dealing in petroleum products without licence.

The two were arrested by the Nigerian Navy Ship Jubilee, Ikot Obong Road, Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, on April 23, 2019 at about 0330hrs with their bus loaded with products suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil, AGO.

They were subsequently handed over to the Uyo Zonal Office of the Commission for further investigation and possible prosecution.

One of the count against the duo reads: “That you Ekerette Emmanuel ‘M’ and Christopher Uko Ebong “M” on or about the 23rd day of April 2019, at Essene, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: without lawful authority or appropriate licence deal with about 3, 250 litres of Petroleum products (Automotive Gas Oil-AGO) which product you concealed in nylon bags/sacks conveyed or loaded in a Mercedes Benz 190 with registration number 162 ABA and a Mini Bus with registration number XA 568 BND and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3 (6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 of the Revised Edition, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under Section 1 (17) (a) & (b) of same Act”.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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