A member of the House of Representatives, Gabriel Zock, was on Thursday arraigned before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja on criminal charges of advanced fees fraud otherwise known as 419.
Zock, who is representing Kachia Kagarko Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, was put on trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on a two-count charge of allegedly defrauding his victim to the tune of N185 million.
He was said to have swindled one Adeyemi Kamar of the amount under alleged false pretences that he would assist the victim to influence the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to secure Right of Occupancy for his property at Guzape area of Abuja.
However, when the charges were read to him, the lawmaker pleaded not guilty.
EFCC’s counsel, Maryam Ahmed, asked the court to remand the lawmaker in prison pending the hearing and determination of his bail application.
The lawmaker, who was brought to court from EFCC custody, had no legal representation to make case for hearing of his bail application already filed.
In a bid to rescue him, Justice Halilu Yusuf appointed one Adebara Adeniyi as counsel for him for the purpose of arraignment and bail.
The EFCC’s counsel however stood her ground that the application of the defendant filed on February 9 was not ripe for hearing and that she needed to study and respond to all the fundamental issues raised in the bail application.
Although Adeniyi made oral application for bail, Justice Yusuf overruled him on the ground that a written application had already been filled by another lawyer.
The judge subsequently ordered that the lawmaker be remanded in the EFCC’s custody till February 16 when his bail motion would be ripe for hearing.