Nigeria's Ruling Party Faces Fraud Charges

A Nigerian court on Monday charged the country's ruling party chairman over a series of corruption allegations.

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Bad news coming out of Nigeria. A court has brought fraud charges against the chairmen of the ruling party

Vincent Ogbulafor faces 16 counts accusing him of funneling money toward fictitious projects during his service as minister of special duties. The charges claim Ogbulafor conspired with two top officials from the National Economic Intelligence Agency and two contractors to defraud the government of about $1.5 million from March to November of 2001.

Nigeria's anti-graft agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission, sought the permission of the court to file charges against Ogbulafor and the others for the crime. In a ruling Monday, Judge Ishaq Bello ordered Ogbulafor and others to appear in court to enter pleas in the case.

Joe Kyari Gadzama, Ogbulafor's lawyer, spoke briefly with reporters after the hearing, but did not offer specifics on how he planned to represent his client.

"I think I should be able to defend the charges made known to me by my client," Gadzama said.