The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned six employees of the Plateau State Civil Service over a N17 million scam before a State High Court sitting in Jos.
According to a statement by the EFCC, Simon Dalom, alias Iliya Ezekiel, Luka A. Dapel, Mary Charles Wakkias, Mary Alkali, Esther Gonung and Nanchin Vivian Philibus were arraigned before Justice Yargata Nimpar of the Plateau State High Court, Jos on a six count charge of criminal conspiracy, forgery and theft.
"The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge." EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren said in the statement.
"Between 2009 and 2012, the suspects were alleged to have stolen the sum of N17,444,509.90 (seventeen million four hundred forty four thousand five hundred and nine naira, ninety kobo) from the Plateau State government as salaries and allowances through an account opened by the first accused Simon Dalom in the name of Iliya Ezekie, a non-existent Commissioner of Planning.
"The first accused, an account officer posted from the Ministry of Finance to the office of the Secretary to the State Government to oversee payment of salaries of political office holders, used his position to create a fake portfolio (Commissioner for Planning) in the state executive council and opened a salary account for the purported commissioner through which he siphoned state funds in salaries and allowances."
Attempt by the defence counsel, Edwin S. Mulan, to move an oral application for bail for his clients was opposed by the prosecution counsel, who argued that the defendants should present a formal application before the court.
"Justice Nimpar adjourned the case to March 25, 2013 for hearing of the bail application and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody," the statement said.