The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Wednesday arraigned former acting director-general, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Alex Akpa, and others over alleged N400 million fraud.
Akpa, Famous Daunemigha, ex-member, governing board of NABDA; and Wesley Ebi Siasia, ex-director, finance and accounts of NABDA, were arraigned on a four-count amended charge before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja.
The three of them, who are first to third defendants respectively, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Counsel to ICPC, O.G. Iwuagwu, said that seven witnesses had been lined up to testify against the defendants.
Justice Ekwo consequently admitted them to bail on terms of the administrative bail earlier granted them by the commission.
Ekwo directed that all the particulars of the defendants be forwarded to the court registrar within seven days of the order.
The judge, who warned the defendants against breaching the bail conditions, said the trial would be on a day-to-day basis.
He adjourned the matter until March 6, March 7, March 8, March 9 and March 10, 2023, for trial.
The ICPC alleges that the defendants, sometime in August 2020, while being public officers, indirectly took possession of the sum of N400 million meant for the establishment of four bioresources development centres in four states of the federation.
The commission accused Akpa, in count two, of indirectly taking possession of the sum of N260 million being part of the sum of N400 million.
While the ICPC accused Daunemigha of embezzling N50 million from the N400 million, Siasia was alleged to have taken possession of N40 million from the amount.
The commission said the alleged acts contravene Section 18 (2) (d) and are punishable under Section 18 (3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.