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National Gallery Director Docked

Stories: Xavier Ndanyongmong

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday arraigned Orji Chidi Festus, an assistant director and head, internal audit, National Gallery of Art, Abuja before Justice Bello Kawu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on a 3-count charge of obstructing the Commission’s investigation activities, contrary to Section 38 (2) (a) 0f the EFCC Act 2004.

Festus was docked for failing to produce some suspects whom he allegedly stood as surety for in a bid to secure their administrative bail. The suspects: Hazeez Agbaje Esther, Dayo Jimoh and Daniel Madu Bwala who are been investigated by the Commission for criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, obtaining by false pretence and forgery, breached the terms of the administrative bail granted them as they all disappeared after they were released on bail. All efforts to get Festus to produce the suspects yielded no result.

However, luck ran out of the accused as he came to bail another suspect who is in the custody of the Commission as check on Festus’ profile revealed that, he is in the habit of parading himself as a reliable surety for suspects. The accused pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. One of the Counts reads: “That you, Orji Chidi Festus (m) being Assitant Director and Head Internal Audit National Gallery of Art, Abuja on or about the 3rd of June 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, did wilfully obstruct the investigation of one Hazeez Agbaje Esther suspected to have fraudulently obtained the aggregate sum of N260,000,000.00 (Two hundred and Sixy million naira) only by false pretences by standing surety to secure his bail with undertaking to produce her to the Commission at any time which you failed to do and thereby committed an offence contrary Section 38(2) (b) of the same Act.” Justice Kawu adjourned the case to June 17, 2015 and ordered the accused to be remanded in Kuje Prison custody.

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