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A middle-aged woman, Zainab Abubakar, was on Thursday brought before a Magistrates’ Court in Minna over an alleged N3.4m fraud.

Abubakar is standing trial on two counts of criminal misappropriation and cheating, contrary to Sections 309 and 322 of the Penal Code Law.

The Police Prosecutor, ASP Abdullahi Maiyaki, told the court that one Rakiya Auta of Nasko in Magama Local Government Area reported the matter to the police on Feb. 22.

Maiyaki said the complainant alleged that sometime in October 2018, the accused deceived her into mobilising 1667 women under the pretext of registering them with an NGO called `Women Movement for Buhari/Osinbajo’.

He noted that the accused person was said to have dishonestly obtained about N3.4m from the women and converted same to her personal use, without registering them with any NGO.

When the charges were read to her, she pleaded not guilty to them.

The prosecutor, thereafter, prayed the court for an adjournment, as investigation into the matter was still ongoing.

He, however, objected to bail for the accused person, arguing that she was likely to interfere with police investigations, if granted bail.

Maiyaki argued that if granted bail, the accused person might commit a similar offence, adding that the offence in question was rampant in society.

Counsel for the accused person, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, urged the court to admit his client to bail in pursuant to Sections 348 and 341 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Abubakar noted that the prosecution’s argument that his client would commit a similar offence, if granted bail, amounted to concluding that she was guilty.

He maintained that the prosecution also failed to tell the court how granting bail to his client would jeopardise police investigations.

In his ruling, the presiding magistrate, Hassan Mohammed, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N1m, and a surety in like sum.

Mohammed, thereafter, adjourned the matter until March 13, for further mention.

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