A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Friday, ordered Mr Chinenye Duru, a Polaris Bank official and account officer to Mr Victor Onukogu, to be remanded in a correctional facility over alleged N16.6 billion fraud.
Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order after Duru was arraigned by the office of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and pleaded not guilty to the 11-count charge preferred against him.
While the IGP is the complainant in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/603/2023, Polaris Bank Plc and Duru are 1st and 2nd defendants.
Upon resumed hearing, IGP’s counsel, Abdulrasheed Sidi, informed the court that the matter was fixed for arraignment.
But Duru’s lawyer Chukwuemeka Kalu, said though they were ready for the plea, the prosecution was in contempt of the FHC’s order and cannot be heard
“When I finish with the plea, you can say what you want to say,” Justice Ekwo declared.
Adedapo Adejumo, who appeared for Polaris Bank, said a plea of not guilty should be entered for his client.
After the 11 counts were read to Duru and he pleaded not guilty, Sidi applied for a date for trial.
But Kalu said on the taking of plea, a fundamental issues on the conduct of the prosecution had been raised.
The lawyer said though he was not objecting to a date for trial, he said during Duru’s detention, they approached the court for the enforcement of his right.
“The matter was before your learned brother, Hon. Justice D.U. Okorowo, who ordered for the interim release of the 2nd defendant on bail.
“The conditions for the bail were fulfilled on this same matter between the parties.
“It was based on whether the prosecution will continue with investigation or prosecution of the 2nd defendant while the EFCC is doing the same,” he said.