The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on April 11, 2019 arraigned Dr. Bassey Etim Ikang, a Deputy Director in the office of the Head of Civil Service, before Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Gudu, on an eight-count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheques and forgery.
Ikang is alleged to have issued dud cheques of N40 million, N20 million, N18 million and N60 million at different times to one Okenna Oguneche, Managing Director, Fortress Project Limited.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr. Bassey Etim Ikang, sometime in 2017 at Abuja, within the judicial division of this Honourable Court, did issue a United Bank of Africa Plc’s Cheque dated 10/07/2017 to Mr Okenna Oguneche, MD Fortress Project Limited in the sum of N60 million as payment for a debt, which upon presentation for payment was returned due to insufficient funds standing to the credit of the account upon which the cheque was drawn and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) Dishonored Cheques (Offences) Act Cap D11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and punishable under Section 1(1)(b)(i) of the same Act.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
Counsel for the EFCC, Aisha Ibrahim, thereafter, prayed the court to give a date for commencement of trial and to remand the defendant in prison pending the continuation of hearing.
But defence counsel, Imhanbe Osagie, informed the court that the defendant had his promotional interview scheduled for April 12 and 15, 2019, and further argued that Ikang was not a flight risk, as he never missed any summons by the EFCC, and he is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. “It will be fair to give him the opportunity to take the oral promotional interview,” he added.
Justice Adebiyi, however, granted the request of the prosecution, and adjourned to April 17, 2019 for hearing on bail application, and ordered the remand of the defendant in prison.