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ICPC Arraigns REA Official for Alleged N298 Million Fraud



The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned Usman Kwakwa, an official of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), for allegedly embezzling N298 million through the agency’s payment platform.

Kwakwa appeared on Thursday before a federal high court in Abuja, facing a four-count charge.

He is one of several officers implicated in an over N1.2 billion fraud at the agency.

At least five officials, including Kwakwa, have been charged separately by the ICPC for various amounts of funds allegedly stolen from the agency in March 2023.

Kwakwa pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge and was granted bail set at N50 million.

During the proceedings, Suobeni Akponimisingha, the prosecution counsel, informed the court about the absence of three other defendants: Emmanuel Titus, Umar Karaye, and Henrietta Okojie.

Akponimisingha stated that all the defendants had been served with copies of the charges and were informed of the day’s proceedings, but chose to stay away.

He requested the court to issue a bench warrant for their arrest.

In a brief ruling, Judge Emeka Nwite ordered the arrest of the three accused individuals.

“The defendant decided not to come to court. I am convinced that the defendant deliberately absented himself from court,” Nwite ruled.

The judge scheduled Titus and Karaye’s arraignment for June 13, while Okojie’s arraignment was set for June 14.

The ICPC, in the separate charges filed against the defendants, accused them of diverting funds intended for rural electrification through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) payment platform into their personal accounts in tranches.

In March, President Bola Tinubu approved the indefinite suspension of Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, the managing director of REA, along with three executive directors, following findings from a comprehensive investigation into the agency’s financial activities.

However, Ahmad’s name was not included in any of the ICPC charges, and he remains suspended.