Alleged N2bn fraud: ICPC arraigns REA official, orders others arrest over non appearance

Kunle Sanni

A staff of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) was charged by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Thursday for allegedly stealing N298 million using the REA payment platform the previous year.

The defendant, Usman Kwakwa, was charged by the ICPC and appeared before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court.

Kwakwa is one of five other REA officers who are being accused of many acts of corruption involving project supervision plan funding exceeding N2 billion.

He is being accused by the ICPC of moving funds belonging to the agency through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), an IT based system for budget management and accounting to his personal accounts in tranches.

The other defendants are Abubakar Abdullahi Sambo, Emanuel Pada Titus, Harrietta Onormen Okoji, and Umar Musa Karaye  are facing multiple charges on four counts each by the anti-corruption authority, ICPC for alleged misappropriation of public office.

On Thursday, only Kwakwa appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to four charges. The judge granted him bail in the sum of N50 million, and the prosecuting lawyer did not oppose the bail request.

The Three other officials of the agency, Titus, Karaye, and Okojie, were ordered to be arrested by the judge for failing to appear for their scheduled arraignment on the same day.

The prosecuting lawyer, Akponimisingha, informed the judge that Titus, Karaye, and Okojie were served with copies of the charges and were duly informed of the day’s proceedings.

However, they chose to stay away “by their own volition.” Akponimisingha, an Assistant Chief Legal Officer at the ICPC, explained that the defendants were on administrative bail but urged the judge to issue a bench warrant for their arrest due to their absence from the proceedings.

Citing section 114 and section 184 of the Criminal and Justice Act respectively, the complainant informed that he had personally served the defendants the notices of arraignment  on May 29th, 2024, with the details of appearances clearly stated, but the defendants on their own notices  had failed to appear for their arraignments.

The Judge adjourned the re- arraignment of Emmanuel Pada Titus, Henrietta Onormen Okojie,  and Umar Musa Karaye to June 13th 2024 and that of Usman Ahmed Kwakwa to June 14th 2024 respectively.


Sambo is being arraigned on three-counts for unauthorised payment of N1.8 billion for project supervision. The Charges filed by ICPC include contravention of the Cybercrime Act, Public Enterprise Regulatory Commission Act, and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act.

Titus, in his charge seen by this reporter, is accused of allegedly receiving N261 million in different trenches through his First bank account with the intentions of defrauding REA. He is facing a total of four counts of corruption, according to the court document.

The REA is responsible for electrification in rural areas under the Federal Ministry of Power, with investigations initiated following allegations of fraud and misconduct. The agency is under the Federal Ministry of Power.

Okoji is being accused by the ICPC of defrauding the REA after it received a total of N342 million in different trenches through her access bank account.

The Commission said her offence is contrary to section 18(2)(d) and punishable under Section 18(3) of the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022.

For Karaye, he is charged with four counts of fraud totaling N298 million.

He is being accused of transferring the money in installments from REA’s account to his First Bank account 2031253389 in March 2023, according to the ICPC, “under the false pretence of project supervision exercise.”


An investigation into alleged fraud, criminal conspiracy, and diversion of public funds in the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) began in 2023 after the ICPC announced its commencement.

The Managing Director of REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, was invited by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption over the alleged fraud allegations in the agency. These investigations were initiated following a petition of alleged gross misconduct and fraud by the Centre Against Injustice and Domestic Violence (CAIDOV).

Further review of the written submission of the Rural Electrification Agency revealed that the fraudulent activities occurred as a result of collation between Senior Member el the Office of the Accountant General for the Federation and the Director of Finance and Accounts in In REA. Further assessment of the submission showed that GIFMIS and TSA platforms must have been compromised to launder funds illegally into the above accounts and various persons in the Office of the Accountant General

In March of this year, President Bola Tinubu approved the indefinite suspension of the Managing Director/CEO of the REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, as well as three Executive Directors of the agency, following findings during a comprehensive investigation into the financial activities of the REA.

However, Ahmad’s name did not feature in any of the ICPC charges. He is yet to be recalled from the suspension.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) REA-Chapter has denounced the allegations, stating that they contain unsubstantiated claims of contract fraud, ownership of private companies, and multiple bank accounts allegedly linked to Directors at the Agency.

It further accused the civil society organisation of being used by unscrupulous elements to rubbish the good work of the Agency under the leadership of Ahmad, and distract the team.

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