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THE GUARDIAN
CONSCIENCE, NURTURED BY TRUTH
LAGOS, NIGERIA.     Sunday, March 21 2004

 

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Remanded Rep, Ibekwe, Dies

MEMBER of the House of Representatives, Maurice Ibekwe, who since last year, had been standing trial over '419' related offences, is dead.

According to a release by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission late last night, Ibekwe died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. The Lagos High Court had last week ordered that he be taken to the hospital following his failing health.

Ibekwe, and others still remanded, was alleged to have defrauded a foreigner through the infamous '419' means.

The EFCC head of media and publicity,

Osita Nwajah, told The Guardian, that the commission was informed of Ibekwe's passage yesterday and that a condolence message had already been sent to the family and the National Assembly.

The statement signed by Nwajah read: "The Chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu wishes to covey the heartfelt condolence of the Commission to the family of the deceased and his colleagues in the National Assembly.

"We grieve the loss the lawmaker whose path crossed with that of the EFCC when the Commission had to investigate and prosecute him over charges of Advance Fee Fraud".

The statement alleged that the deceased had "frustrated every move to commence trial and speedily dispose of the case", even though he "maintained his innocence".

Added the statement, "the defence team managed to exploit all manners of legal loopholes to stay proceedings, stall hearing of the substantive matter and by so doing, effectively prevented the EFCC from proving its case or the accused, his innocence".

Nwajah also added that Ibekwe "was remanded on the orders of the courts in prison custody while the legal footdragging went on..."

The late Ibekwe had recently claimed that his health was deteriorating, urging the public to intervene in his case so that the federal government would influence his release from custody.

 

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