By Soni Daniel
Justice Efreti Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, on Monday ordered that Mrs. Fidelia Omoile, a serving Independent National Electoral Commission’s official in Isoko- South Local Government Area of Delta State, be remanded in prison custody following her arraignment on Monday, on a two- count amended charge, bordering on conspiracy and money laundering, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Omoile was docked for allegedly collecting the sum of N112, 480,000.00 as a bribe during the weeks leading to the 2015 Presidential election.
She was among the 105 INEC officials who allegedly collected part of the $115million (N23bn) disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the
countdown to the 2015 presidential election.
Omoile was arrested on 11 April, 2016 following intelligence received by the EFCC on the activities of some INEC Staff, who allegedly connived with some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), in defrauding the Federal Government huge sums of money, running into millions of Naira.
Count one of the charge read: “That you Fidelia Omoile on or about the month of March, 2015 at Asaba within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to receive cash payment in the sum of N 112,480,000.00 exceeding the statutory limit without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 as amended and punishable under Section 15 (3) and (4) of the same Act”.
Count two of the charge read: “That you Fidelia Omoile on or about the month of March, 2015 at Asaba within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did receive cash payment in the sum of N112,480,000.00 exceeding the statutorylimit without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (a) of the Money laundering ( Prohibition) Act 2012 as amended and punishable under Section 16 (b) and (4) of the same Act”.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to her.
In view of her plea, prosecution counsel, Sadiq Hussaini, asked for a trial date and sued that the defendant be remanded in prison custody.
However, counsel to the defendant, K. O Obamogie, made an oral application for bail of his client and urged the court to grant his prayers. Hussaini opposed his prayers.
In his ruling, Justice Abang turned down the defendant’s oral application for bail, directing that the application be filed formally.
He also adjourned the matter to 6 June, 2017 for hearing and ordered the defendant to be remanded in prison custody pending the determination of her bail.