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Alleged Corruption: ICPC Arraigns Ex-Court Registrar, Wife Over Litigant’s N80m

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned a former staff of the Judiciary, Mr Joseph Udoh, and his wife over allegations of money laundering.

Udoh, a former registrar with the Kaduna Division of the Federal High Court and his wife, Mrs Grace, were arraigned before Justice Mallong Hoommuck on 12 counts.

In a statement on Sunday, ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said Udoh was alleged to have misappropriated an amount exceeding N80 million from the money that had been deposited in the court by a litigant.

He reportedly issued cheques in the name of his wife who was also a staff of the court but in Abuja, and used the money to acquire properties in some major cities across the country.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

Their counsel, S. M. Essienakak, informed the court that they had served the prosecution with a bail application and prayed the court to grant his clients bail on non-stringent conditions.

Essienakak gave assurance that the couple would not evade bail.

But counsel to ICPC, Shehu Yahaya, strongly opposed to the bail application on the grounds that the attitude of the defendants suggested that if they were granted bail, they might interfere with the processes.

He informed the court that four of the witnesses to be called by the prosecution were members of staff of the Kaduna Division of the court, where one of the defendants had served as a registrar.

After listening to arguments of counsel on both sides Justice Hoommuck granted the defendants bail in the sum of N10 million.

He also asked them to provide two sureties in like sum who must be members of the legal profession and must own properties in a Government Reserved Area (GRA) in Kaduna.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the matter until January 28, 29, and 30, 2020, for the continuation of hearing.

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