The arraignment of the President of Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SCN) Joseph Agbenla, before a high court of justice of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Zuba, was once again stalled yesterday.
Agbenla was dragged before the court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a four-count charge bordering on fraud and corruption.
Agbenla, a former surveyor general and permanent secretary in Lagos State, was alleged to have received various sums of money from the council through one Ezekiel Okunola, on December 17th, 2017 as Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) and other expenses for a monitoring and evaluation exercise in the South-South region of Nigeria but failed to embark on the said tour. He rather claimed to have used the money for other personal purposes and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”
He was further alleged to have also received another humongous amount from the council to enable him attend the 2018 International Federation of Surveyors conference which held in Turkey.
He was, however, alleged not to have attended the conference, but rather claimed to have used the money for other personal purposes.
Agbenla, who was absent in court on January 7 when he was initially billed for arraignment, was docked some minutes after 9am on Monday when the case was called.
He was observed to be limping on one leg as he made his way into the dock. His lawyer had told the court on January 7 that he (Agbenla) was involved in an accident, hence he missed the earlier court sitting.
However, the arraignment could not proceed as the prosecution counsel, Evans Peters applied to the court for a leave to make a correction on the face of the charge sheet.
He noted that his attention was called to the charge sheet with the defence team wherein it was erroneously indicated that the division of the court was ‘Jalingo’ instead of ‘Zuba’.
While the judge, Justice A.O. Ebong, observed that the said error could not be seen on the copy of the charge before the court, the prosecutor prayed the court to allow for time to make the correction, adding that since it was a criminal charge, the prosecution would not want to take unnecessary chances.
The case has further been fixed for March 3 for arraignment.