Again, EFCC fails to arraign Stella Oduah for alleged N10b fraud

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For the second time, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday failed to arraign the former minister of aviation, Ms Stella Oduah and eight others at the Federal High Court, Abuja for alleged N10 billion fraud.

The non-arraignment of the accused was occasioned by the prosecution’s failure to effect service of court documents on some of the defendants.

At the mention of the case on February 9, 2021, counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Hassan Liman told the court that the defendants were absent in court because they were not yet served.

The EFCC, in the 25-count charge, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2020 accused the nine defendants of engaging in conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with First Bank Plc.

At the mention of the case on February 9, 2021, counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Hassan Liman told the court that the defendants were absent in court because they were not yet served.

Named with Oduah as defendants, are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Ltd.

On Monday, Oduah and some other defendants were in court, but Liman again told the court that he was yet to serve the fifth and sixth defendants – Global Offshore and Tip Top Global.

He prayed for leave of the court to serve the defendants, which are corporate bodies, at their respective addresses.

In his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the leave sought directing that the defendants be served within 14 days.

The arraignment was then fixed for April 19.

The EFCC alleged that Oduah who represents Anambra North in the senate, misappropriated public funds while serving as a minister.

In count four of the charge, Oduah Odita (whilst being the Company Secretary to Sea Petroleum & Gas Company Ltd (SPGC), and an aide to the former minister of aviation) were said to have in February, 2014 used their positions to transfer N1,629,250,000.00 from I-Sec Security Nig. Ltd account No. 2021756955 with First Bank Plc to Global Offshore and Marine Ltd account No. 2022977296 also domiciled with First Bank Plc, which money “you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.”

They were, in count 21 said to have, between March and May, 2014 took control of N1,225,347,254.00 transferred from China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Ltd bank account with Zenith Bank Plc to Private Banking Nominee account No. 2024414450 domiciled with First Bank Plc, which “money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: Fraud and thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

Oduah and Odita were, in count 24, accused of opening a naira “anonymous Private Banking Nominee Account No. 2024414450 with First Bank Plc and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 11(4) (a) of the same Act.”

They were, in count 25, accused of opening a United State dollar “anonymous Private Banking Nominee account No. 2024414498 with First Bank Plc and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 1 1(4) (a) of the same Act.”

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