By Ebireri Kevwe
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned the Taraba State accountant-general, Joel Joseph Lenbang, before Justice Donatus Nwabueze Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Jalingo, for defrauding state government of the sum of N1.56 billion.
Lenbang was docked on an 8-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence, following a petition received from a concerned citizen alleging massive looting of the state’s funds.
The petition triggered an investigation into the lifestyle of some of the officers mentioned who were believed to be living above their means and findings revealed a systematic withdrawal of state funds through a scheme masterminded by Lengbang.
Withdrawals were allegedly made under the guise that such monies were used for sundry payments on behalf of ministries, departments and agencies as well as payment of bank Commissions on Turn over, COT, and Value Added Tax, VAT, which became a monthly affair.
A total sum of N1.5 billion was discovered to have been looted from the state treasury between January 2012 and December 2013.
The offence is contrary to and is punishable under the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.
The accused person pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him.