By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, re-arraigned son of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Shamsudeen Bala Mohammed before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on 15-count money laundering charge.
The defendant, who was initially docked before the court on February 1, took fresh plea before trial Justice Nnamdi Dimgba.
Shamsudeen is facing trial alongside four firms- Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd, Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd and Bal-Vac Mining Ltd, which the EFCC said were used to launder over N1.1billion.
EFCC alleged that the 1st defendant, in a bid to conceal stolen funds at his disposal, resorted to acquisition of houses within the high brow areas in Abuja.
It told the court that Shamsudeen paid cash for five plots of land and four other choice properties in Abuja.
Some of the assets traced to him include five plots of land at Asokoro Gardens; House FS 2 B, Green Acre Estate Apo-Dutse, Abuja; House FS 1A, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse; FS 1B, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja and House 2A, No. 7, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
According to the agency, the 1st defendant whose father, Bala Mohammed, is equally facing six-count criminal charge before an Abuja High Court, paid for the assets in excess of the statutory limit, without recourse to any financial institution.
Aside allegation that he failed to declare his assets when he completed the EFCC Asset Declaration Form A, the ex-Minister’s son was further accused of concealing four accounts he operated with Standard Chartered Bank.
EFCC gave the said account numbers as 0001857597, 5001214708, 0000895037 and 000895020.
The agency had earlier seized some properties it traced to the defendant and his father who is under investigation over an alleged fraudulent N1trillion land swap deal that took place between 2010 and 2015 while he was in office as FCT Minister.
Meanwhile, Shamsudeen pleaded not guilty to the amended charge dated May 25, even as his lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, applied for continuation of the N100million bail he earlier secured from the court.
The application was not opposed by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Ben Ikani.
Consequently, Justice Dimgba allowed the defendant to go home in company of the former FCT Minister who was in court to witness the re-arraignment of his son.
The case was adjourned to June 26 for commencement of trial.