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EFCC arraigns NEMA pilot over N91 million fraud

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THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday arraigned Mamman Ali Ibrahim before Justice A. I. Kutigi of the Federal High Court, sitting in Gwagwalada, Abuja on a two-count charge, bordering on criminal breach of trust.

Ibrahim, who served as a pilot in charge of Air Ambulance Aviation Unit and Helicopter Emergencies Service with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, is alleged to have diverted over N91 million, meant for taking care of the fleets, which includes Airbus, Air ambulance and the Helicopter.

His arraignment followed a petition to the office of the Vice President, which was forwarded to the EFCC.

Investigations carried out by the anti-graft agency revealed that Ibrahim brought the ambulance and the helicopter for commercial purposes. However, he claimed that the directive to use the aircraft commercially came from the office of a former vice president and a former Accountant General of the Federation, AGF.

A total sum of N285 million was realise from the commercial use of the aircraft, while N63 million was paid to the AGF.

While N11 million was paid to NEMA, but the balance was yet to be accounted for.

According to the petition, over N4million was paid into the account of Aerocare West Africa Limited, a company belonging to the defendant, which he transferred to his family members.

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One of the counts reads in part: “That you, Mamman Ali Ibrahim, whilst being employed in the public service and serving as a pilot in charge of Air Ambulance Aviation Unit and Helicopter Emergencies Services with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, between 2014 and 2015, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, while being entrusted with dominion over money, to wit, the sum of N64,550,810 (Sixty Four Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Ten Naira) only, being part of the proceeds realised from the commercialisation of the aircraft belonging to NEMA”.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, Deborah Ademu-Eteh, asked the court for a trial date but the defence counsel, Aduojo Abah, moved the motion for the bail of his client.

Ademu-Eteh opposed the application, urging the court to “consider the severity of the punishment and the character of the evidence before the court”.

After listening to all the arguments, Justice Kutigi granted him bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum. The surety being a public servant not lower than level 14, must be a resident within the jurisdiction.

The case was adjourned to April 10, 2019, for trial.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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