Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke (SAN), before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court over alleged corruption and fraud charges.
Adoke and an oil magnate, Aliyu Abubakar, were first arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako in February 2020 and then Justice Inyang Ekwo on June 17, 2020, on a seven-count criminal charge.
The re-arraingnment process before Justice Inyang Ekwo suffered a set back on Monday on account of late filling of the seven-count amended charge.
Meanwhile, the court has granted an accelerated trial of the case against the wishes of the defence counsel.
When the case was called yesterday, the prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga, applied to withdraw the amended charge filed on July 29 and prayed the court to replace it with another filed on August 3, adding that the latest charge have been served on the defendants.
Adoke and Abubakar’s lawyers, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN) and Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) respectively, did not oppose the prosecution’s request, which was subsequently granted by the court.
In the amended charge, Adoke was accused of collecting the sum of N300 million from Alhaji Abubakar as alleged proceeds of unlawful activities in 2013, while in the same year, he was said to have collected another $2.2million from one Rislanudeen Muhammed.
He was also accused of disguising a sum of N300 million being proceeds of unlawful activities he accepted from the second defendant.
The Federal Government also alleged that Adoke illegally paid the sum of N50 million in 13 tranches and another N80 million in 22 tranches into his personal account with Unity Bank in contravention of the nation’s financial regulations.
In another count, Adoke was said to have paid the sum of N367 million, also in contravention of the financial regulations.
The former AGF was further accused of disguising the sources of the amounts deposited in his Unity Bank, an act contrary to the financial law.
On the other hand, the second defendant, Abubakar, was said to have in September 2013 received cash payment of $2 million and another $4 million from one Abdulkareem Mustapha, while in September and October same year, he was alleged to have collected another sum $84.7million.
The prosecution also charge, the second defendant of receiving $3 million and concealing the source of same.
In another charge, the complainant was accused to have received $12 million being proceeds of alleged unlawful act.
Abubakar was also alleged to have made the sum of N300million cash payment to Adoke in contravention of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.
Following the defendants’ plea of not guilty, Justice Ekwo ordered expeditious trial, and fixed August 11, 12 and 13, for hearing.