•Badeh moved to Lagos
From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday remanded former Interior Minister, Abba Moro at Kuje Prisons, Abuja over alleged N676million money laundering and fraud charges.
Also sent there is F.O. Alayebami (the third defendant), while the second accused, who is a former permanent secretary in the ministry, Anastasia Nwobia, will remain on her administrative bail that was earlier granted by Justice Anwuli Chikere. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting them.
This is even as the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd), has been moved to Lagos for investigation over the fraud at Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Management Agency (NIMASA).
Nwobia’s counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), drew the court’s attention to the fact the defendant is a nursing mother.
Justice Chikere granted the extension of the bail and adjourned the suit till tomorrow for the argument of other defendants’ bail applications.
Moro and the other accused took their not guilty plea before the court yesterday when the EFCC arraigned them before Justice Chikere on 11-count charge of fraud in the 2014 job recruitment for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) that led to the death of 19 applicants.
The accused persons were alleged to have contravened the Public Procurement Act No. 65 of 2007 in the contract awards by not following the necessary procedure laid down by the government.
The EFCC said the award of the contract to Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited had no prior advertisement, no assessment and a procurement plan was not carried out before the award of the contract.
The commission said there was no budgetary provision for the exercise in the 2014 budget, hence, the applicants were made to bear the responsibility of funding the project without the approval of the board, contrary to Section 22(5) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission Act, 2000.
The charge sheet reads in part: “Moro, Anastasia Nwobia, F.O. Alayebami and Mahmood Ahmadu (at large) and Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd allegedly defrauded Nigerian applicants to the tune of N676,675,000 representing N1,000 per applicant through e-payment for their online recruitment into the Nigeria Immigration Service on March 17, 2013.
“The contract was awarded through selective tendering procedure by invitation of four firms without seeking approval of the Bureau for Public Procurement contrary to Sections 40, 42 and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 and punishable under Section 58 of the same law.
The EFCC disclosed that out of the N676million, one of the accused persons, Mahmood Ahmadu, who is at large, lavished over N423million in connivance with Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited.
Meanwhile, the EFCC yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that Badeh has been moved to Lagos for investigation over fresh allegations linking him with NIMASA scam and also investigate some properties allegedly traced to him.
The anti-graft agency was responding to an application brought by his counsel, Mr. Samuel Zibiri (SAN), asking the court to grant him bail on self-recognizance or on such favourable and liberal terms as the court may deem fit to make pending further investigation by the EFCC.
The said application was brought pursuant to Section 35 (4) of the 1999 Constitution and sections 158, 162 and 165 (1)(2] of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
Meanwhile, Justice John Tsoho has fixed March 4, to deliver his ruling on the application.
Zibiri, in moving the application, said his client voluntarily went to the EFCC office in honour of its invitation on February 8, 2016 and was detained after several hours of interrogation and compelled to write a bulky statement.
He argued that his client had been in the EFCC’s custody since February 8 when he went to the office on the invitation of the Acting Chairman.
But in opposing the application, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Cosmos Ugwu, said the court sitting in Abuja has no territorial jurisdiction to grant the application since Badeh is in the custody of the commission in Lagos.
He said the applicant is being investigated on a fresh allegation linking him to the NIMASA scam and had been moved to Lagos. He said Badeh is yet to fulfill the terms of his administrative bail which the Commission granted him after his initial detention.
Badeh wаѕ on February detained by the EFCC аftеr subjecting him to several hours of interrogation in connection with the ongoing $2.1 billion arms deal scandal. He arrived the commission’s headquarters in Abuja at about 9am on Feb ruary 9, and has not left the premises since then.
The money is said to be part of the $2.1billion, which was under the NSA, then under the headship of Dasuki.