The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, re-arraigned a British national, James Nolan, before Justice Donatus Okorowo of a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja.
The EFCC re-arraigned Nolan alongside two others, on amended 32-count charge bordering on money laundering.
While the two companies; Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI), and ICIL Limited are first and second defendants, Nolan is the third defendant in the case.
He was re-arraigned for his involvement in the controversial contract awarded to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).
The re-arraignment followed the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, to the Warri division of the court early in the year.
When the matter was called, counsel to the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, informed the court that he had a 32-count charge filed before the court on November 20, 2019, and applied that the charges be read to the defendants for their plea to be taken.
Mr Nolan, who is a director in first and second defendants, and who previously took plea on behalf of the companies when the matter was before Justice Abang, however, declined to take plea on behalf of the firms.
Nolan’s lawyer, Michael Ajara, also informed the court that he was not representing the first and second defendants at the proceeding.
But Iheanacho urged the court to enter a plea of non-guilty with respect to the counts affecting the first and second defendants based on Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
He further informed the court that on the Supreme Court Authority of Effiom Vs. the State, the counsel need not be present when a plea of the accused person is being taken.
Justice Okorowo then directed the registrar to read the counts to the defendants.
While a plea of not guilty was entered for the companies, the third defendant also pleaded not guilty.
After the plea, the prosecutor applied for a trial date and Ajara urged the court to grant bail to Nolan, who was already on bail granted by Justice Abang and varied by the Court of Appeal.
Consequently, the judge granted bail to the third defendant, in line with the terms stated in the judgment of the appellate court, which varied the terms of bail granted by Abang.
Okorowo adjourned the matter until December 13 for commencement of trial.