EFCC re-arraigns Ex-AGF Adoke, Aliyu on money laundering charges
• As court slates August 3 for trial
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) before a Federal High Court, Abuja on a seven-count charge, bordering on money laundering.
Adoke was arraigned on Wednesday along with an Abuja-based businessman, Aliyu Abubakar in a charge sheet, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/39/2017.
Six counts in the charge relate to Adoke while the remaining one was against Abubakar.
The anti-graft agency accused the former AGF and his co-defendant of allegedly laundering about N400 million, in Abuja in September 2013.
Adoke, who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan was accused, among others, of receiving the US dollar equivalent of N300 million from Abubakar and paying the dollar equivalent of N367,318,800 to one Usman Mohammed Bello.
He was also accused of using N300 million which was alleged to be part of the proceeds of unlawful activities, acts classified as offences under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
The former AGF was equally accused of making, “structured cash payments in 22 tranches” amounting to N80 million, and another of such structured payments in 13 tranches, estimated at N50 million, into his Unity Bank account.
On his part, Abubakar was accused of making a payment of US dollar equivalent of N300 million into Adoke’s account, in violation of the money laundering law.
When both defendants pleaded not guilty to the fresh charges read out to them, the lead prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga said he would have applied for the remand of the defendants in prison but for the reality of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sanga, who noted that the prosecution was not served any bail application on behalf of any of the defendants, said he will not object should counsel to the defendants apply for bail orally.
Former AGF, Kanu Agabi (SAN), who appeared for Adoke and another ex-AGF, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), who appeared for Abubakar, commended Sanga for his friendly gesture.
The case was transferred from Justice Binta Nyako’s court where the defendants were arraigned in February 2020 and granted bail.
The defence counsel prayed the court to allow the defendants to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them, a request the trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo acceded to.
Sanga later prayed the court for a short adjournment for the commencement of trial to enable the prosecution to prove its case.
“We hope to open and close this case on time. Our witnesses are within the jurisdiction, and we do not intend to call more than five witnesses,” Sanga told justice Ekwo, who subsequently adjourned till August 3, 2020, to commence trial in the matter.