Nigerian party chief pleads not guilty to fraud

The chairman of Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of conspiracy and fraud relating to his time as a government minister in 2001.

A federal anti-fraud agency has accused Vincent Ogbulafor and four others of conspiring to siphon off 233 million naira in public funds.

An Abuja court judge has granted Ogbulafor bail and set a June 21 hearing for the case.

The corruption charges come as Ogbulafor faces a crisis within the PDP over who will be the party’s candidate for next year’s presidential elections.

The PDP suspended a group of 19 senior members last month after they launched an open rebellion calling for reforms which could break the stranglehold of a small elite over the party and throw the presidential race wide open.

The PDP has won every presidential election since the country returned to democracy just over a decade ago.



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