The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Makurdi Zonal Office today, February 18, 2020, arraigned one Joseph Kyumeh and Augustine Ada Omaji before Justice M. A. Ikpambese of the Benue State High Court sitting in Makurdi, on a 7-count charge bordering on Criminal Conspiracy, Forgery, Money Laundering, Abuse of Office and Theft to the tune of N11,000,000 (Eleven Million Naira).
One of the count reads: “That you, Joseph Kyumeh and Augustine Ada Omaji sometime in March 2019, in Makurdi within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court agreed to dishonestly and fraudulently make and sign a report of internal auditor on the account of Nigerian Union of pensioners, Benue State Branch for the period between 30th December 2013 and 31st December 2017, with the intention of causing it to be believed that the report was made by Auditors for Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Benue State Chapter Makurdi and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 of the Penal Code (CAP) 124 Law of Benue State, and punishable under section 97 of the same Law".
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
Based on their plea, prosecuting counsel, Mary Onoja, requested for a trial date, and asked the court to remand them at the Correctional Centre.
However, counsel to defendants, E. I. Laren urged the court to grant them bail on most liberal terms.
Justice Ikpambese granted bail to each defendants in the sum of One Million Naira with one surety in like sum. The surety must be resident and have a landed property within the jurisdiction of the Court and must show evidence of such. Or a civil servant not below GL 12 and they must deposit one passport photograph with the Court.
The accused persons were remanded in Correctional Centre pending the perfection of their bail condition, and the case was adjourned till March 24, 2020 for hearing.
Trouble started for Kyumeh who was a chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Benue State Chapter and other executive members, when the EFCC received a petition signed on behalf of the concerned pensioners of Benue State alleging that the finances of the NUP have not been audited and the demand for accountability that was sent to the suspects had been ignored.
They alleged that since May 2013, the suspects continued to spend the Union's fund without any form of accountability for the check-off dues collected for over five years which had ran into millions of naira. The petitioner alleged that the accused had defrauded the Union to the tune of N11,000,000.00 (Eleven Million Naira).