A former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Charles Ugwu, has been apprehended by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for his alleged involvement in conspiracy and loan fraud to the tune of N3.6 billion.
Recall that the late President Umaru Yar’Adua had appointed Ugwu as a minister but his tenure abruptly came to an end after a cabinet reshuffle that affected 19 other ministers.
Confirming the latest development on Monday, the Head of Media and Publicity of the commission, Dele Oyewale, disclosed that the embattled former minister was apprehended on January 11, 2024, at No.2, Musa Yar Adua Way, New Owerri, Imo State, alongside Chief Geoffrey Ekenma.
The arrest of the two suspects was said to have followed “a petition to the commission from a new generation bank on the alleged fraud perpetrated through a company, Ebony Agro Industries Ltd., linked to the ex-minister.”
The statement read, “Investigations revealed that Ugwuh and Ekenma, Managing Director, Ebony Agro Industries Ltd., allegedly obtained a loan facility from the bank for the purchase and production of polished rice.
“However, the suspect, according to the petitioner, failed to meet his obligations to the bank, and all efforts to get him to repay the loan facility proved abortive. The suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.”
It was reported in 2020 that Ugwu was elected chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State. He returned unopposed as other aspirants from the Okigwe zone, where the position was zoned to, stepped down for him.
Three years after his election as the party chairman, he was suspended over alleged misconduct.
Meanwhile, seven family members have died following a fire outbreak near Tudun Wada Juma’at Mosque in Kano, an official of Kano State Fire Service, Alhaji Saminu Abdullah, has said.
It was reported on Monday that the incident, which occurred on Sunday night, affected the father, mother, and five of their children.
“We received a distress call at Dakata fire station from one Ibrahim Sani at about 12:25 am that there was a fire outbreak in a building at Tudun Wada Quarters.
“On receiving the information, we quickly sent our fire fighting vehicle to the scene at about 12:30 am,’’ he said.
He said seven unconscious victims were evacuated by firefighters from the slightly burnt two rooms and a parlour they were occupying and rushed to hospital.
“The doctor confirmed seven of them dead due to the smoke they inhaled,’’ he said, adding that investigation revealed that the fire, caused by an electric spark, was out of control by the time firefighters arrived.
He advised the general public to exercise caution while handling electrical appliances and flammable materials to avoid fire incidents and other emergencies.