The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 re-arraigned Dr. Sani Shuaibu Teidi, former director of Pension Accounts, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja .
Teidi was docked alongside one Udusegbe Eric Omoefe also known as Otega Akpotehiri, and their companies: Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nigeria Limited, Haleath Enterprises, Uthatak Nigeria Limited, Krasiva Nigeria Limited, Badawulu Ventures Limited, Ebunu Attah Investment, Muha Millennium Motors Limited and Riba-ile Petroleum Limited, on a 21-count charge of failure to declare assets, obtaining by false pretence, conspiracy and concealing the illicit origin of stolen pension fund to the tune of N18.3bn (eighteen billion, three hundred million naira).
Teidi’s re-arraignment by the anti-graft agency followed his application to the Chief Judge through his counsel, Sunday I. Ameh, SAN, seeking the transfer of the case to another court over an alleged bias of the trial judge, Justice Ademola Adeniyi.
On Wednesday, while the charge was being read for the accused persons to take their pleas, Teidi’s counsel, A. S Akpala raised objection to counts 5-10 and 17-18 as amended by EFCC.
According to Akpala, “there is no charge against Dr. Shuaibu Teidi, because the charge listed Abdul Muhammad and three other companies who are currently facing trial in Court 5 of the Federal High Court, Abuja”.
“Therefore, the charge is a module and we humbly ask this honourable court to strike out the charges from 5-10, 17 and 18 respectively”, Akpala pleaded.
However, counsel to EFCC, Emmanuel Egwuagu urged the court to discountenance Akpala’s submission saying, “There are no ambiguities on the counts 5-10 and 17-18 as observed by the defence”.
Citing Section 1 (1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act which deals with obtaining money by false pretence , and Section 220 and 221 of the same Act, Egwuagu said, “objection is not allowed when the charges are being read to the accused person to take his plea”.
Justice Kolawole, after listening to the arguments of both counsel, and having taken a cursory look at authorities cited by the prosecuting counsel, ruled that the charge should be read to the accused persons for them to take their plea.
One of the counts reads:
“That you, Dr Sani Teidi Shuaibu, while serving as Director of Pension Accounts, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation of Nigeria, Udusegbe Eric Omoefe (also known as Otega Akpotehir), Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nigeria Limited, Haleath Enterprises, Uthathak NIgeria Limited and Krasiva Nigeria Limited at various times between March 2010 and June 2010 within the jurisdiction of this honorable Court, conspired to obtain by false pretence and with intent to defraud various sums in aggregate amount of N1,951,592,000.00 ( One Billion, Nine Hundred and Fifty One Million, Five Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand Naira) from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Pension Account held by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria, through fictitious contract payments into bank accounts held by Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nigeria Limited, Haleath Enterprises, Uthathak Nigeria Limited and Krasiva Nigeria Limited with the former Oceanic Bank Plc now known as Ecobank Limited, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act,2006”
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
Justice Kolawole adjourned the case to October 8, 2015 for trial to commence and ordered the accused persons to continue with the bail terms earlier granted them by the trial court.
It will be recalled that, Teidi was first arraigned on March 24, 2011 alongside nine others and 30 companies on a 134-count charge for allegedly defrauding the Pensions Account, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, of billions of naira.
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