Whistle-blowers: NEMA Staff Deji Denies Bribery Charge…. Granted Bail
A Chief Maintenance Officer in charge of Fuel Supply, Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji has denied the N2.4mn bribery charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Deji pleaded no guilty to the three-count charge when he was arraigned before Justice Jude Okeke of the Federal Capital Territory High Court and he was subsequently granted bail for pleading innocence.
Deji who is one of the whistle-blowers along with five other directors in NEMA have been placed on suspension for fear of implicating and exposing the monumental corruption allegedly being perpetrated by the current DG NEMA, Engineer Mustafha Maihaja
After a series of public hearings at the National Assembly on the action of the NEMA boss against the whistle-blowers, the House of Representatives ordered the agency to reabsorb them back into their respective offices, an order which Maihaja had persistently refused to comply with.
Rather than complying with the lawmakers’[YS1] order, the NEMA Director General unleased anti-corruption agency on the the suspended staff through petitions in a bid to weaken their positions as whistle-blowers on his alleged maladministration.
The EFCC in the charge dated December 19, 2018 had arraigned the Deji-Yunusa on the allegation that some times in 2016 he allegedly collected N1.7mn from Rekimat Global Resources as gratification from the supply of fuel to NEMA.
The defendant was also alleged to havereceived another N617,000 in February 2017 through his Diamond Bank Account from the same company.
Deji was accused of receiving another N130,000 gratification from the same company in September 2017.
The offence was said to be punishable under Section 8 of the Corrupt Charges and other related offences Commission.
When the charge was read, the NEMA Chief pleaded not guilty prompting the prosecutors Adeola Olanrewaju to apply for an adjournment for trial of the charge and that the defendant be remanded in Prison Custody pending the trial.
However, counsel to the defendant, Mr. Edward Sabah told Justice Okeke that he had filed a motion seeking for bail for his client pending the trial and urged the court to allow him argued the motion.
A counsel informed he court that the defendant while on administrative bail did not jump bail and that the present bail if granted will not be abused by the defendant in defendant in line with Section 158.
In his ruling, Justice Okeke dismissed the objection of the prosecution as being frivolous and speculative adding that no court of law would ever act on speculation.
The Judge consequently admitted the NEMA staff to Bail in the sum of N1mn and one surety in the like sum while the surety must show evidence of tax clearance forb the past three years.
The judge also held that the surety must be resident in the Federal Capital Territory and deposit his two passport photographs with the court.
Meanwhile Justice Jude Okeke has fixed hearing in the charge till April 15, 2019.