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.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS