Alleged $40m Fraud: Jonathan’s Cousin To Know Fate On May 27

Alleged $40m Fraud: Jonathan’s Cousin To Know Fate On May 27

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed May 27 to rule on the alleged $40 million fraud case against Mr Robert Azibaola, cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba fixed the date at the resumed proceedings, a statement from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said on Friday.

The EFCC had charged Azibaola and his company, One Plus Holdings, with two counts bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust, and corruption.

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They were alleged to have received $40 million from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd), without any contract agreement.

On June 7, 2016, the anti-graft agency charged Azibaola, his wife, Stella, and the company to court on an amended nine-count bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption.

They, however, pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, which subsequently resulted in the commencement of their trial.

The EFCC had through its counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, closed the case of the prosecution on January 23, 2017, calling 10 witnesses and tendering several documents.

The defence, on the other hand, filed a “no-case” submission on March 19, 2018.

Ruling on the application, Justice Dimgba had sustained two of the nine counts and held that there was no prima facie case established against Stella.

Subsequently, Azibaola and One Plus were ordered to open their defence on the remaining two counts, as Stella’s name was struck off the charge sheet.

He, thereafter, took to the dock to testify in his defence and denied the allegation that he diverted money to his personal use.

On February 6, 2019, Azibaola’s his defence team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chris Uche, closed its defence after calling two witnesses, including Azibaola, and presented several documents.

At the resumed sitting on Friday, both parties adopted their final written addresses after which Justice Dimgba adjourned till May 27, 2019, for “judgement”.

$40m Alleged Fraud: Court Adjourns Ruling On Jonathan’s Cousin No-Case Submission

$40m Alleged Fraud: Court Adjourns Ruling On Jonathan's Cousin No-Case Submission
File Photo

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday adjourned ruling on the no-case submission filed by a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibaola.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba has fixed March 29 decide whether or not Azibaola has a case to answer in the seven counts of money laundering and criminal breach of trust preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to a statement by the spokesman for the anti-graft agency Wilson Uwujaren, Azibaola is standing trial alongside his wife, Stella Azibaola, and their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited.

The defendants were alleged to have diverted $40million, money purportedly meant for the supply of tactical communication kits for Special Forces.

The fund was said to have been transferred from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the domiciliary account of their company, One Plus Holdings.

The prosecution has so far called 10 witnesses and tendered documents before closing its case on Tuesday, January 23, 2017, setting the stage for the defendants to open their defence.

“Rather than open defence, Azibaola through his counsel, Chris Uche, approached the court with a no-case submission in an application dated March 15, 2018, and filed March 19, 2018, urging the court to dismiss the charge in its entirety and acquit the defendants,” the statement said.

Uche argued that “the prosecution had failed woefully to establish a prima-facie case against the defendants as the evidence presented shows no nexus with the defendants”.

On the money laundering charge, the learned silk argued that “there has to be proof of its illicit or illegitimate origin”.

He noted further that in the case at hand, there was no such proof of illegitimacy or dirtiness of the origin, rather what the prosecution showed are two funds ($40million and N650million) whose source were derived from an offspring of a “legitimate paternity”.

Azibaola’s counsel believed that the trial was more of a “political witch-hunt” and urged the court to hold that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants.

In his response, counsel to the EFCC Francis Jirbo urged the court to discountenance the arguments of the defence.

He argued that the prosecution had proved the essential ingredients of the offence to warrant explanations by the defendants.

“The prosecution has established a prima facie case as there is a document which talked about a contract for the supply of communication kits for special forces with nothing to show in ‘Exhibit 5’ (third defendant’s statement of account) that the kits were provided and supplied,” Jirbo said.

He added that there was no contract document showing any award of contact to the defendants and no evidence of competitive bidding for such a contract.

The EFCC counsel submitted that having established a prima facie case of money laundering, it is only logical that the defendants step into the witness box to explain how $40million was spent on the supply of tactical communication kits for Special Forces.

“It is trite that when a court is giving consideration to a submission of no-case, it is not necessary at that stage of the trial for the court to determine if the evidence is sufficient to justify conviction.

“The trial court only has to be satisfied that there is a prima facie case requiring some explanation from the defendant,” Jirbo said.

Alleged N10 Billion Fraud: Court Grants Jonathan’s Cousin, Azibaola, Bail

Robert_AzibaolaA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted bail to Mr Robert Azibaola and two others who were arraigned on Tuesday, June 6 for alleged fraudulent involvement in a civil national contract amounting to the tune of N10 billion.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba admitted the accused persons bail in the sum of N500 naira each

Azibaola is a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

They are to provide two sureties in like sum and the sureties must be an owner of a landed property in Asokoro or Maitama Districts of Abuja

The court further added that the sureties must provide evidence of payment of income tax for the past three years and the registry of the court shall verify the fulfilment of the bail conditions and report to the court accordingly for approval

The ruling was delivered before the trial of Mr Abba Moro commenced.

The accused persons are to be remanded in prison pending the satisfaction of the bail conditions.

Mr Robert Azibaola, Mrs Stella Azibaola and One Plus Holdings Nig Ltd were yesterday arraigned for allegedly collecting N10 billion for a fraudulent contract.

$40m Fraud: Fmr President Jonathan’s Cousin Asks Court To Compel EFCC To Release Him

ObazeeThe detained cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibaola, has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to either charge him to court or release him from detention.

Azibaola, in a new case filed on his behalf by his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, claimed that his detention, which has lasted for 46 days by the EFCC, was as a result of his refusal to indict the former President.

He is specifically urging the court to order the EFCC to release him immediately from unlawful custody or institute a criminal charge and arraign him before any court of competent jurisdiction.

Azibaola was arrested by the EFCC on March 23 over an alleged diversion of $40 million dollars through a company, One-Plus Holdings, and a sister company, Kakatar Construction Limited.

The payment was said to have been made by the detained former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

The EFCC on April 22, 2016 transferred him from Abuja to Lagos where it obtained a warrant from a Lagos State Magistrate’s Court in Ikeja to remand him pending the conclusion of investigation into his alleged crime.

However, in the suit, which is yet to be assigned to any judge, Adegboruwa claimed that the EFCC could not rely on sections 293 and 294 of the ACJA to continue to detain his client.

He argued that those sections of the law were designed for criminal offences such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and treasonable felony, which attracts capital punishment, for which the police would need time to await a legal advice from the office of the Attorney-General.

Azibaola, who claimed that he is being persecuted based on his blood relationship with former President Jonathan, also accused the EFCC of having perfected the plan to keep transferring him from state to state in order to keep renewing the remand warrant to ensure that he was perpetually kept in detention.

He also claimed that any attempt to make him indict former President Jonathan was a violation of Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, “which has outlawed the practice of arresting a citizen as ransom for the alleged offence of another citizen.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the fundamental rights enforcement suit.