- As EFCC tackles Nigerian newspaper owners, attacks Thisday’s Obaigbena
Navy Capt. Jerry Ogbonna (rtd), 63, was on Monday remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), allegedly for defrauding two banks of N90 million.
The Navy Captain and his company, Obyke Consult Ltd were accused by the EFCC of fraudulently collecting N45 million from Fidelity Bank and another N45 million from the Diamond Bank; after which he neither returned the facilities, nor justified the collection.
Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Miss Zainab Ettu who highlighted that Ogbonna allegedly committed the crimes between April and August 2012; also stated further that the accused had insisted that the money was mobilisation fees from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
The defence counsel, Mr A. A Ossai however urged the court to allow Ogbonna to remain in EFCC custody and not prison custody till next hearing date when his bail application would be heard.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of an Ikeja High Court ordered that Ogbonna should be remanded following his plea of not guilty to the two-count charge of obtaining money under false pretences.
Ipaye subsequently adjourned the case to July 4 and 5 for trial.
In the meantime, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday lashed out at the association of newspaper owners in the country, reprimanding them for allegedly deploying their “platform to pursue personal interests.”
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the anti-graft agency said the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, wrongly accused it of attempting to stifle free press in raiding the head office of The Sun Newspapers last week.
The anti-graft agency was responding to an advert which NPAN placed in THISDAY and Leadership Newspapers Monday, condemning the June 12 presence of anti-graft operatives at The Sun office, which is located in Apapa, Lagos.
“The manner of the invasion tends to suggest that the EFCC was out on a self-help mission, a voyage to intimidate journalists, criminalise journalism and cower free speech,” Mr. Uwujaren quoted the advertorial as stating.
The ‘invasion’ was also condemned by the Nigerian Union of Journalists and the Nigerian Guild of Editors who asked the anti-graft agency to apologise for its action.
Additional report from Premium