The arraignment of the Chief Accountant of Delta State Scholarship Board, Andrew Boji Nkwor before Justice C. O Emifoniye of the Delta State High Court, Asaba on a 5-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, February 26, 2015 could not take place as scheduled following an application by the defendant, challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
Nkwor is alleged to have abused his office and, in connivance with the former Executive Secretary of the Board, Peter Amromanoh, stole over N36m (Thirty-Six Million Naira) meant for the payment of bursary to Delta State students studying in various institutions of higher learning. They are also alleged to have paid bursary to “ghost” students.
When the matter was mentioned, the counsel to the accused persons A.P.A Ogefere, raised a preliminary objection to the charge, while applying for bail for the second accused, Nkwor, before the plea could be taken. Ogefere told the court that he had filed a motion dated February 16, 2015 seeking to quash the charges and challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
However, prosecution counsel Steve Odiase told the court that he was only served with the motion in the court and that the accused persons should take their plea before any applications could be entertained. “Any objection to a charge must be taken after the plea and not before,” he argued.
Defence counsel Ogefere countered, citing a Supreme Court ruling stating that when an accused is protesting his charge he may not take a plea.
Justice Emifoniye adjourned the matter to March 16, 2015 for ruling.
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