(Updates with judge’s ruling in second paragraph.)
June 8 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s former House of Representatives speaker, Dimeji Bankole, pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud at the Federal High Court in the capital, Abuja, according to court proceedings.
Prosecutors charged Bankole, 41, with 16 counts of fraud in connection with a 1 billion-naira ($6.4 million) graft investigation. Judge David Okorowa ruled that he be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the anti-graft agency, and set a bail hearing for June 10.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, ranks 134 on a list of 178 nations on a corruption index compiled by Berlin-based graft monitor, Transparency International.
The West African country lost about $380 billion to corruption between independence in 1960 and the end of military rule in 1999, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in an October 2007 report.
--Editors: Karl Maier, Emily Bowers.
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