EFCC Re-Arraigns Alao-Akala, Saraki’s Aides Others
Court Adjourns Ex-Oyo Gov, Alao-Akala’s N11.5bn Fraud Trial to May 2
Justice Olalekan Owolabi of a State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State has adjourned the trial of a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Christopher Alao-Akala, to May 2, 2019.
Alao-Akala is standing trial along with his then Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hosea Agboola, and an Ibadan-based businessman, Femi Babalola for an 11-count charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The charge against them bordered on “conspiracy, awarding contract without budgetary provision, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from an illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property”.
Alao-Akala is alleged to have awarded a road contract worth about N8.5 billion between 2007 and 2009 without budgetary provision, to Pentagon Engineering Services, a company traced to Babalola.
The said contract was executed on behalf of the 33 local governments in the state.
Alao-Akala was alleged to have ordered for the supply of drilling machines worth about N3.5 billion on behalf of the local governments. He was also alleged of conspiring with Agboola to withdraw N2.9 billion from the Oyo State Local Government Joint Account, and for illegally acquiring some property on Old Bodija road, off Rotimi Williams road, when he was in office.
The offences contravene Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and Section 1 (18) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act.
At today’s proceeding, counsel for the EFCC, Ben Ubi, informed the court that the second prosecution witness, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who was meant to testify in court was now the Head of Operations of the EFCC Port Harcourt Zonal Office, and was unable to make it to court, due to election duties.
“My lord the reason our witness is not in court today is because he is involved in the election processes in Rivers State,” he said, praying the court for an adjournment.
Counsel for the first and third defendants, Hakeem Afolabi, SAN, and his counterpart, Richard Ogunwole, SAN, holding the brief of the second defendant, did not oppose the prayer.
Consequently, the presiding judge adjourned for “continuation of trial” and ordered the prosecution to make sure its witnesses were available at the next date.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
EFCC Re-arraigns Saraki’s Aide, Makanjuola, Others For N3.5bn Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 re-arraigned Gbenga Makanjuola, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, before Justice Maureen A. Onyetenu sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on an amended 11-count charge bordering on alleged conspiracy, accepting cash payment beyond threshold and money laundering to the tune of N3.5 billion ((Three Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira).
Makanjuola is charged along with Kolawole Shittu, cashier to the Senate; Robert Chidozie Mbonu, a former Managing Director, Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, SGBN (currently at large); Melrose General Services Limited and Obiora Amobi, Operation Manager, Melrose General Services Limited.
They were first arraigned on October 3, 2018 before Justice Babs O. Kuewumi of the same court.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Gbenga Makanjuola, sometime in December 2016 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of the sum of $500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) only from Kolawole Shittu without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against them.
In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsel, Kamil Bashir, asked the court for a trial date.
In his response, counsel to the second defendant, Omeoga Chukwu, urged the court to allow the defendants to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted by the Justice Kuewumi, adding that “the terms were very stringent and verified by the EFCC.”
Justice Onyetenu granted the prayer of the defence on the existing bail.
The defendants were granted bail in the sum of N250 million each, with two sureties in like sums.
The sureties must be resident in Lagos and must have landed properties with Certificate of Occupancy, CoO, within the Lagos metropolis.
Also, the sureties must show tax clearance certificates and letters of identification from their banks.
Each of the defendants was ordered to deposit four recent passports with the Court Registrar.
The case was adjourned to May 20, 21 and 22, 2019 for commencement of trial.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
EFCC Docks Man for N15m Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on March 13, 2019 arraigned one Akpu Clement Chijioke before Justice I.E. Gafai of the Federal High Court, Awka, Anambra State on a 14-count charge bordering on stealing and cybercrime to the tune of N15 million (Fifteen Million Naira).
One of the counts reads: “That you, Akpu Clement Chijioke, between 2016 and 2019 at Nnewi, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court knowingly and without authority caused the loss of the sum of N4,800,000 (Four Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira) property of First Bank Nigeria Limited, when you transferred the said sum to one Maduabuchi Clement Nwoye and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Cybercrime Act, 2015 and punishable under the same section of the same Act.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
Prosecuting counsel, Victor Ukagwu, thereafter prayed the court for a date for trial to commence.
Defence counsel, D.O. Akataka, however, moved the bail application for his client, citing Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 158 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act, ACJA 2015.
After listening to both counsels, Justice Gafai granted him bail on the following terms: two sureties, who must be civil servants, not less that Grade Level 10 and must reside within the jurisdiction of the court.
The case has been adjourned to April 3, 2019.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity