Alleged Money Laundering: Court Adjourns Maina’s Trial Till February 1

Abdulrasheed Maina

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the hearing of the bail application filed by the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina to February 1, 2021.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang while adjourning the case shortly after counsel in the matter announced appearances said it is not convenient for the court to hear the bail application today.

Mr. Maina had on December 24, 2020, filed a bail application predicated on grounds of deteriorating health which requires urgent medical attention.

In the motion on notice, the defendant outlined four issues for consideration by the court, one of which was him collapsing in court on December 10, 2020, due to his deteriorating health.

He also stated that he has responsible sureties who are ready to stand for him if granted bail.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Fixes January 26 For Maina To Open Defence

 

The trial of a former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina continued in Abuja on Monday.

At the resumed trial, the judge, Justice Okon Abang ordered the embattled former pension boss to open his defence on January 26, 2021.

Maina’s lawyer, Anayo Adibe had earlier asked for an adjournment on the ground that he is unable to proceed with his no-case submission due to his inability to access the certified true copy of the court’s record of proceedings.

The application for adjournment was opposed by the prosecutor who insists that it is only a ploy to stall the trial.

READ ALSO: Corruption Trial: Maina Collapses In Court

Justice Abang after listening to both parties foreclosed the right of Maina’s counsel to present a no-case submission as he orders the defendant to open his defence on the next adjourned of January 26 and 27, 2021.

Speaking after the court ruling, Adibe told Channels Television that the legal team is very ready to open defence.

“We are very ready to open our defence but it’s just that we have made an application for the opening of no-case submission to be made which has been refused and foreclosed. We are going to appeal that.

“However, we intend to continue our representation for the first defendant. Therefore, we are very ready to open our defence.”

The Federal Government is prosecuting Mr Maina on a 12-count charge of fraud and money laundering.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Frees Atiku’s Son-In-Law, Abdullahi Babalele

Logo of a court gavel

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has freed Abdullahi Babalele, a son-in-law to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on a two-count allegation of alleged money laundering of $140,000.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke threw out the charge and discharged the defendant on the grounds that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had chosen a wrong venue.

The court held that the charge against the defendant ought not to have been filed in Lagos when the alleged offence was said to have been committed in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Justice Aneke relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in a case between the EFCC and Mohammed Dele Belgore on territorial jurisdiction.

READ ALSO: EFCC Asks Court To Dismiss Atiku’s Son-In-Law, Babalele’s No-Case Submission

Babalele was arraigned in 2018 and then re-arraigned on October 8, 2019.

The EFFC accused him of giving former President Olusegun Obasanjo $140,000 on the instructions of Atiku Abubakar, who was vying for the office of President in the 2019 elections.

But Babalele pleaded not guilty.

During the trial, the EFCC called two witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence, before closing its case against the defendant on November 25, 2020.

At the last hearing on December 7, Babalele’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), filed a no-case submission asking the court to dismiss the charge.

He contended that no case had been made against his client warranting him to make any defence.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Grants Former AGF Adoke Permission To Travel For Medical Treatment

Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted permission to a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke to travel for a medical check-up at the United Arab Emirate, where he was in exile for about five years.

Ruling on Adoke’s application for permission to travel to the UAE, the trial Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo on Thursday ordered the release of his passport to enable him to travel to UAE on health grounds from December 15 and return on or before January 10, 2021.

READ ALSO: Zulum Seeks UN Support On Return Of Nigerian Refugees In Neighbouring Countries

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Adoke on 14-count charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of $6million.

Adoke who is standing trial alongside a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, is scheduled to return to the court on January 11 for the continuation of his trial.

The former AGF who fled the country had returned and was immediately arrested by the EFCC upon arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on December 19, 2019.

He has since been facing multiple charges, including money laundering, before various courts which had ordered the seizure of his passport as a bail condition.

Adoke was accused of among others, receiving the dollar equivalent of N300 million from Abubakar, paying the dollar equivalent of N367,318,800 to one Usman Mohammed Bello, and allegedly using the sum of N300 million, which was alleged to be part of the proceeds of unlawful activities, all in violations of various provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

The former AGF was also accused of making “structured cash payments, in 22 tranches” amounting to N80 million, another of such structured payments in 13 tranches summing up to N50 million into his Unity Bank account.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Fixes Friday For Ruling On Ndume’s Bail Application

A file combination of former Chairman of the defunct Pension Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina (L) and Senator Ali Ndume.
A file combination of former Chairman of the defunct Pension Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina (L) and Senator Ali Ndume.

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed Friday, November 27 for ruling on the bail application filed by Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume, who has been remanded in prison since Monday over his suretyship for Abdulrasheed Maina who is believed to have jumped bail.

Justice Okon Abang on Thursday adjourned for ruling after Senator Ndume’s lawyer, Marcel Oru, argued the bail application, which was opposed by the lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Abubakar.

Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, is being prosecuted by the EFCC on charges of money laundering involving N2billion.

READ ALSO: Maina’s Son Made Contradictory Statements to EFCC, Court – Witness

Justice Abang had on November 18, 2020 revoked the bail granted him, ordered his arrest, and directed that his trial would continue in absentia.

The judge also on Monday remanded Senator Ndume in prison until he produces Maina or pays the sum of N500million bail bond to the Federation Account.

Senator Ndume, through his lawyer, Marcel Oru, had on Tuesday filed an appeal against the remand order at the Court of Appeal, along with an application for the bail of the defendant filed before Justice Abang.

Former Panama Presidents Charged With Money Laundering

Former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli is surrounded by reporters as he arrives at the Prosecutor’s office in Panama City, on July 2, 2020 amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic. – Panama’s former president Ricardo Martinelli must face corruption charges just eight months after he was acquitted of spying on political foes, one of his lawyers said on Wednesday. According to local media, Martinelli has been linked to the so-called “New Business” case in which an editorial group was allegedly bought using public money during his 2009-14 term as president. (Photo by MAURICIO VALENZUELA / AFP)

 

 

Panama’s last two presidents, Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela, were charged Thursday with money laundering, as two separate scandals tarnished the political legacy of the former allies turned enemies.

Martinelli was charged with money laundering over the so-called “New Business” case in which a publishing group was allegedly purchased with government funds during his 2009-14 term.

Martinelli, 68, was in a combative mood as he departed the public prosecutor’s office in Panama City.

“I’m going to be frank with you, this pisses me off, this political persecution that has no end… they want to involve me (in the case) in order to do away with me,” he said, after refusing to testify.

Martinelli was held in pre-trial detention for two years after he was extradited from the United States to face trial for spying on his political foes. He was acquitted on those charges in 2019.

Varela meanwhile “was charged with money laundering in the Odebrecht case,” the public prosecutor’s office told AFP.

The 56-year-old former president is being investigated for allegedly accepting illegal donations to his political campaigns from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Varela, who left office last year, said afterward that he would “come as many times as necessary to prove my innocence, clarify any questions that the public prosecutor has and comply with the country and strengthen the rule of law.”

The appearance of the two former presidents “could mean, if there is any optimism, that… no one is above the law,” Carlos Barsallo, head of the Panamanian office of Transparency International, told AFP.

But “being realistic and prudent and based on previous experiences, we have to wait and see real and definitive results because in Panama, the perception of impunity has prevailed,” he said.

Martinelli won the 2009 election with Varela as his running mate, but their alliance broke down in 2011 when Varela was sacked as foreign minister.

Since then, the two former political allies have become enemies.

 

 

-AFP

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Dismisses Maina’s Application For Bail Variation

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed the bail variation filed by the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina. 

In a ruling delivered by Justice Okon Abang on Wednesday, the court held that Mr Maina failed to provide sufficient materials before it, to prove that he is unable to meet his bail conditions.

The court also rejected the Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) request to revoke the bail granted to Maina.

This follows an allegation that he is planning to assassinate the witnesses and that the prosecutor was not backed with facts.

Maina had approached the court in January with an application seeking the bail condition granted to him asking that he provides two serving senators with landed properties worth N500m each in Maitama or Asokoro as surety.

Mr. Maina who is standing trial for alleged money laundering urged the court to drop the said conditions which he described as excessive and stringent.

READ ALSO: I Can’t Get Senators With N1bn Properties As My Sureties’, Says Maina

At the hearing of the bail variation application filed by Maina on December 6, 2019, the defendant’s lawyer, Mr. Afam Osigwe, said while his client had met other conditions, it had been impossible for him to get senators to serve as the sureties.

The court later varied the bail condition granted to Mr. Maina to one serving Senator or member of House of Representative or a Director in the Federal Civil Service who must attend all proceedings.

The former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N2 billion fraud.

 

Dasuki Makes First Court Appearance After Release From Detention

A file photo of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

 

The immediate past former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki on Thursday made his first appearance in court after his release from four-year-long detention in spite of the bail granted him on numerous occasions by different courts.

Colonel Dasuki appeared before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja for his trial on charges of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms instituted against him in 2015 by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Adoke Arraigned On 42 Counts Of Fraud, Money Laundering

The former NSA is standing trial on two separate sets of charges of alleged diversion of funds earmarked for the procurement of arms meant for fighting Boko Haram in the North-East at the Abuja High Court.

At the resumed trial, Colonel Dasuki, through his lawyer, Olukayode Ariwoola, withdrew two separate applications he filed in protest against his continuation of trial without being released from illegal custody on the ground that the applications had been overtaken by the event of the release of his client.

Reacting to the application, the prosecutor, Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), said he had no objection to the request to have the applications withdrawn.

The trial judge subsequently struck out the applications and adjourned the trial till March 11 and 12, 2020.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Adjourns Case Against Atiku’s Son In-Law

 

The trial against Abdullahi Babalele, a son-in-law of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who was accused of laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 general elections commenced today.

At the Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) called its first witness, Bashir Mohmmmed, who described himself as a close friend of Babalele.

Mohammed, who was led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke how he delivered naira equivalent of $140,000 cash to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Babalele’s instructions.

The witness testified that he personally delivered the money to Obasanjo in his house in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

READ ALSO: NASS Working To Pass 2020 Budget November 28, Says Lawan

He said on Babalele’s request he supplied two bank accounts, which were credited.

After which he said he took the money to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

“When I got there, somebody came and took me inside where I met former President Obasanjo and delivered the message,” Mohammed said.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mohammed affirmed that he wrote a statement at the EFCC office during the investigation.

A move by Mr. Ozekhome to tender the statement as an exhibit before the court was, however, opposed by the prosecutor.

The development made Justice Aneke adjourn the matter till tomorrow, Wednesday for ruling on the admissibility of the statement.

 

Alleged Money Laundering: First Witness Testifies As Fayose’s Trial Resumes

 

About three months after his re-arraignment, the trial of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has resumed at the Federal High Court, Lagos with the testimony of the first prosecution witness.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering.

The first witness, Mr Lawrence Akande, a Banker with Zenith Bank Plc, had initially testified before former trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

But following a petition written by the EFCC alleging bias against the judge, the matter was re-assigned to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke with the implication being that all the witnesses who had testified before the previous judge would have to testify afresh.

13 witnesses listed by the anti-graft agency had initially testified before the previous judge.

They included officials from several commercial banks, as well as a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro.

In his testimony before Justice Aneke today, the first witness, Mr Lawrence told the court that as “a person of high network”, his bank sought patronage from Mr Fayose.

He admitted that Mr Fayose maintained three accounts with the bank namely Spotless Investment, De Privateer, and a personal account domiciled in Lagos.

The witness also mentioned that sometime in June 2014, he received a call from Mr Fayose informing him that there will be a business transaction in Akure which he passed on to the Akure Zonal Head of the branch to handle.

The banker then denied direct knowledge of the transaction including lodgements, payments or deposits.

After listening to the testimony, Justice Aneke then adjourned the trial till Tuesday, October 22.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Convicts Ex-NIMASA DG

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted a former Acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Calistus Obi for money laundering

Mr Obi was convicted along with Alu Dismas, a former personal assistant to his predecessor, Patrick Akpobolokemi by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on a charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The judge adjourned the case till May 28 for sentencing and ordered that the duo be remanded in prison custody pending sentencing.

The EFCC had arraigned Obi on April 12, 2016, on eight counts of conspiracy, conversion and money laundering of the sum of n136 million from NIMASA.

Although the court discharged and acquitted the defendants for conspiracy owing to the failure of the prosecutor to prove it, they were, however, convicted of conversion and money laundering.

READ ALSO: Alleged N304m Fraud: Court Fixes June 20 To Adopt Final Addresses Of Ex-NIMASA DG

Count one reads: “That you, Calistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismas Alu Adoon on or about the 5th day of August 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of the sums of N111,000,000, property of NIMASA, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

Mr Obi, Global Seal and Grand Pact were said to have converted N42,755,000.00 on December 24, 2013.

The EFCC said Mr Obi, on May 2, 2013, converted N25,000,000, as well as N46.3million being “proceeds of stealing” between April 1 and December 11, 2014.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Postpones Bail Hearing Of Four Kwara Govt Officials

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State, before Justice Babangana Ashigar, has postponed the bail hearing of four officials of the State Government arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin Zonal Office on money laundering.

Those arraigned include the Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Government House, Abubakar Ishiak, Director of Administration And Finance, Shina Akorede, Controller Finance and Account, Rasaq Momonu and cashier of the Kwara State Government House, Hafees Yusuf.

The four men were first arraigned on May 2 on two counts of money laundering and making cash payments of N20.3 million.

The payments were allegedly made to one Energy Multi-Trade Unique Interbiz Limited through the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Jimoh Sarafadeen Kolade, for services rendered to the Kwara State Government house.

The sum was said to have exceeded the limitation of 10 million Naira payable to a corporate body and thereby resulting in an offence contrary to Section 1 (b) and punishable under Section 16 of the same act.

At the hearing today for their bail application, the prosecuting counsel, Christopher Mschelia, urged the presiding judge to accelerate the proceedings of the arraigned officials in order for the trials to commence.

In response, the lead counsel to the defence, Abdulwahab Bamidele, however, noted that the case was bordering on money laundering which does not involve human lives, hence it is bailable.

Countering the position, Mscheli, insisted that any case on the nation’s economy is equivalent to human life.

After listening to both parties, Justice Ashigar then postponed the date for hearing on bail application till further notice and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in the custody of the EFCC.