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Fraud: Ebong, others’ trial stalled

….EFCC opposes Nwosu’s plea to quash charges

By Innocent Anaba
The planned  re-arraignment of former  Managing Director of Union Bank Plc, Mr. Bartholomew Ebong and five others before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, could not go on, following the insistence of some of the accused persons to challenge the competence of the charge.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had filed a fresh  20-count charge, bordering on fraud against the accused persons. Those standing trial alongside Ebong are Mr. Henry Onyemem,  Mr. Niyi Albert Opeodu, Managing Director of Falcon Securities Limited, Mr. Peter Ololo and his company.

Relatedly, EFCC,  yesterday, asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss applications by former FinBank Managing Director, Mr. Okey Nwosu and three others, urging the court to quash corruption charges preferred against them by the commission.

Those standing trial alongside Nwosu are Dayo Famoroti, Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike and they are facing a 36–count of fraud-related charge, brought against them by the commission.

While adopting its written address, EFCC argued that Section 12 of the Act empowers EFCC to enforce the Money Laundry Provision Act and that Section 7 of the EFCC Act also empowers the commission to enforce the provisions of the Money Laundry Act, urging the court to dismiss the application, praying the court to strike out the charges.

But the accused persons, urging the court to quash the charge, contended that “once an Act has been repelled, it could no longer be applicable. Interpretation Act, does not apply on this case.”

In the Ebong charge, the accused persons, contended while the fresh charge was read, through their counsel, that they intend to challenge the competence of the charge, praying the court for time file their written argument and further asking that their clients be excused  from taking their plea to the fresh charge.

At that point, the trial judge, Justice Abutu, adjourned the matter till 31 May to enable the accused persons file their written submissions, since some of them were only served copies of the charge in court yesterday.

The court ordered that the accused persons continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by the court, in the earlier charge.


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