A former Registrar with the Federal High Court, Kaduna Division, has been arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) before Hon. Justice M. T. M. Aliyu of the State High Court, Kaduna on charges which border on criminal misappropriation and conferring of corrupt advantage upon himself.
Mr. Joseph Etefia Udoh was alleged to have intentionally and illegally converted to personal use funds amounting to =N=76.2 million which were officially kept under his custody by litigants, while he was the Registrar of the same court.
The defendant was said to have committed the offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 as well as contrary to Section 308 of the Penal Code Law Cap 110 Law of Kaduna State 1991 and punishable under Section 309 of the Penal Code Law Cap 110 Law of Kaduna State 1991.
However, when the charges were read to him, he pleaded not guilty.
Following his plea, the defence counsel, Elizabeth Yayock, informed the court that they had earlier filed an application for bail which was pending before the court. She prayed the court to strike out one of the prayers in the motion which borders on jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.
Although the prosecuting counsel, Dorathy Suleman, did not object to the bail application, she however urged the court to ensure that the bail conditions were such that would guarantee the appearance of the defendant in court to face his trial.
In his ruling on the bail application, the trial judge adopted the same bail condition administered on the defendant by the Federal High Court, Kaduna, which states among other things that “the defendant has been admitted to bail in the sum of Ten Million Naira (=N=10,000,000:00) only, with two sureties in like sum who must be members of the legal profession and must have properties in Government Reserved Areas (GRA) in Kaduna”.
He thereafter adjourned the case to 30th April, 2020 for hearing.
It may be recalled that the defendant and his wife are also facing trial in the same court on money laundering charges brought against them by the Commission on the same matter.