The scheduled arraignment of former Aviation Minister, Senator Stella Oduah and eight others over alleged N10b fraud was stalled on Monday owing the prosecution’s failure to effect service of court documents on some of the defendants.
This is the second time the arraignment would be put off in view of claim by lawyer to the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Hassan Liman (SAN) that he was yet to serve all the defendants.
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.
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.
At the mention of the case on February 9, 2021, Liman told the court that the defendants were absent in court because they were not yet served.
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.
Liman sought the permission of the court to serve the defendants, which are corporate entities, at their respective addresses.
Without any objection from some defence lawyers in court, Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the leave sought and directed that the defendants be served within 14 days.
He adjourned till April 19 for arraignment.
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 committed 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.”