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Ex-Kebbi Senator, Argungu arraigns in court over criminal diversion of N419.74 million

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Sokoto Zonal office on Monday arraigned former Senator representing Kebbi North Senatorial district in the 6th Senate, Umar Tafida Argungu, for criminal misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N419, 744, 612. 30 (Four Hundred and Nineteen Million, Seven Hundred and Forty Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Twelve Naira, Thirty Kobo).

He was arraigned before Justice Mohammed Mohammed of the Sokoto State High Court on one count charge.

He alleged to have diverted the said sum which was paid by the Sokoto State government as 40% equity stake in Hijrah Investment Nigeria Limited, owners of Hijrah Textile Ltd.

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The 40% stake was part of Sokoto States share it entered into agreement with his company, Hijrah Investment Nigeria Limited in order to create jobs and boost the economy of the state.

But the ex-lawmaker was said to have made withdrawals from the account that not related with the set objectives of the company.

The company has been abandoned and overgrown with weeds.

But at Monday’s Court hearing, he charge was read to his hearing before he ended not guilty.

Justice Mohammed Mohamed said: “That you Senator Umar Tafida while being the Chairman of Hijrah Textiles Company Limited and Hijrah Investment Nigeria Limited sometime between 2016 and 2017 at Sokoto within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice Sokoto State, being entrusted with the total sum of N419, 744, 612. 30 (Four Hundred and Nineteen Million, Seven Hundred and Forty Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Twelve Naira, Thirty Kobo) paid by the Sokoto State government, representing 40% investment of shareholding in your company to boost the economy of the state, dishonestly misappropriated the money in violation of the mode in which such trust was to be discharged and thereby committed Criminal Breach of Trust contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Law CAP 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria and punishable under Section 312 of the same Law”.

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He pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge.

Based on his plea, the prosecution counsel, S.H. Sa’ad asked the Court for a date to commence trial while defence counsel, Ibrahim Abdullahi move a verbal motion for the bail of his client.

Justice Mohammed granted the defendant bail in the sum of N50 million (Fifty Million Naira) and two sureties in like sum. The sureties must reside and have property within the jurisdiction of the Court. The judge further ruled that the defendant’s international passport be deposited with the Court.

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The case has been adjourned till March 18, 2021 for commencement of trial.

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