The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Thursday arraigned Uche Edwin, a professor, on charges of N1.4 billion fraud.
Mr Edwin was arraigned alongside three companies at the Federal High Court in Lagos, a statement by the anti-corruption agency said.
According to the statement signed by EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the companies standing trial alongside the professor as his co-defendants are Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, NEMAD Associates Limited, and Revamp Global Enterprise.
The defendants face 11 counts of conspiracy, retention and conversion of a total N1, 473,367,046.04, allegedly belonging to the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN).
Mr Edwin pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges.
Following his not-guilty plea, the prosecution counsel, C.C. Okezie, asked the court for a trial date and also asked that the defendant be remanded.
The defence counsel, Mobolaji Akintunde, in response, made an application for bail on behalf of his client.
Mr Akintunde urged the court to grant his client bail. He also urged the court to allow his client to be remanded in EFCC custody pending when he would be able to meet the bail conditions the court might impose.
In a short ruling, the judge, Nicholas Oweibo, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N1 million and two sureties in like sum.
The sureties must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, and show a tax clearance certificate of three months as well as their passport photographs.
The defendant was also ordered to deposit his passport with the court.
The judge adjourned the trial till 27 June for the commencement of the trial.
One of the counts reads: “ That you, Professor Uche Chigozie Edwin, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, Nemad Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, sometime in 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court, conspired amongst yourselves to use the sum of N1, 473,367,046.04 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy-Three Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-Seven Thousand, forty-six Naira, Four Kobo), property of the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: fraud; and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”