…As EFCC docks lawyer for N38.8m money laundering, Banker over N6m fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Friday, arraigned Dandy Eze and Solomon Johnson before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit a felony and acceptance of bribe to the tune of N50 million.
They were alleged to have demanded for the said sum as bribe from a company, WAHUM Nigeria Limited, claiming that they could facilitate the withdrawal of a petition written against it, which they claimed was being investigated by the EFCC.
The sum of N1 million had already been collected by them as part payment of the bribe through an account operated by Johnson.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Dandy Eze, being the president of Path of Peace Initiatives and Solomon Johnson, on or about the 23rd November 2018, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court, solicited for the sum of N50, 000,000 (Fifty Million Naira) only as bribe,
in order to facilitate the withdrawal of a petition written against Wahum Nigeria Limited from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission”.
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsel, George Chia-Yakua, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed that they be remanded in prison custody.
However, counsel for the defendants, Terry Adeniji, told the court that he had just been briefed about the case.
Adeniji, therefore, asked the court for a short date to enable him file a proper bail application.
He also prayed the court to remand the defendants in the EFCC custody.
In his response, Chia-Yakua, urged the court to refuse the prayer of the defence counsel to remand the defendants in the EFCC custody.
Consequently, Justice Dada adjourned the matter to February 14 and 15, 2019 for hearing of the bail application and commencement of trial.
The suspects were remanded in prison custody.
Meanwhile, EFCC Lagos Zonal office, on Friday, arraigned one Folawunmi Awonusi before Justice P. I. Ajoku of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State on a two-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N38, 800, 000.
The defendant, who is a legal practitioner, was said to have allegedly made cash payments of the sum of money in tranches of N22, 300, 000 and N16, 500, 000 to one Olakanye Olalekan.
The offence is contrary to Sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section (16)(2)(b) of the same Act.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Folawunmi Awonusi, on or about the 16th day of January 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, without going through a financial institution, made cash payment of the sum of N22,300,000 to one Olakanye Olalekan, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law”.
Another count reads: “That you, Folawunmi Awonusi, on or about the 11th day of January 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, without going through a financial institution, made cash payment of the sum of N16,500,000 to one Olakanye Olalekan, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law”.
The defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Idris Mohammed, asked for a trial date and prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody pending the determination of the case.
Counsel to the defendant, M. Onaha, informed the court that application for bail had been filed and served on the prosecution.
He, therefore, urged the court to admit his client to bail.
Mohammed, however, opposed the bail application, which he said was served on him on January 9, 2019.
He further submitted that the prosecution was still within the time frame, as provided by the law, to file a counter-affidavit.
He, therefore, asked the court for a date to hear the bail application.
Justice Ajoku adjourned the matter to Wednesday, January 16, 2019 for hearing of the bail application, and February 5, 2019 for commencement of trial.
The defendant was remanded in Agodi Prison pending the determination of his bail application.
Also, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Benin Zonal Office, has on arraigned one Momojimoh Abdumalik on a one-count charge of fraud before Justice Abdu Dogo of the Federal High Court, Akure, Ondo State.
Abdulmalik, a cashier with First Bank of Nigeria, is alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn the sum of N6, 963,929 from the Ondo State Revenue Collection account with the bank.
The charge reads: “That you Momojimoh Abdulmalik while being a cashier in First Bank Plc, Owo Branch, between January to July 2018 in Owo, Ondo State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did fraudulently withdraw the aggregate sum of N6, 963,929.61 only
from Ondo State Revenue collection account domicile at First Bank Plc, Owo Branch, thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 390(6) of the Criminal Code Act CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.
Abdumalik pleaded “not guilty” to the charge when it was read to him.
In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Immaculate Elody, prayed the court to fix a date for trial.
Defence counsel, Idedayo Olanipekun, however, informed the court that he had filed an application for bail before the court.
He pleaded with the court to grant his client bail as he was a first time offender and that he will attend his trial and not jump bail as he has been on administrative bail granted by the EFCC.
Justice Abdu Dogo after listening to both counsel, adjourned to January 17, 2019 for “ruling on bail application” and ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody.
Andrew Orolua, Abuja