…Court orders seizure of their international passports
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday arraigned former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, before the Federal High Court in Abuja on a fresh seven-count money laundering charge.
The former AGF was docked alongside an oil mogul, Aliyu Abubakar, who the anti-graft agency alleged had sometime in September 2013, paid US Dollars equivalent of N300 million into Adoke’s bank account, in breach of section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended, which it said forbade an individual, except in a transaction through a financial institution, from making or accepting cash payment of a sum exceeding N5m or its equivalent.
In count-2 of the charge marked FHC/CR/89/20, EFCC, alleged that Adoke made a payment in US Dolls equivalent to N367, 318, 800 to one Usman Mohammed Bello, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16(2) (b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
The ex-AGF was in count-4 of the charge, also alleged to have made “structured cash payments in 13 tranches of the total sum of N50m into his Unity Bank Account”, which sums he knew exceeded the statutory threshold of funds an individual could receive outside a financial institution.
EFCC accused the defendants of attempting to conceal the origins of the funds, contrary to section 15(2) (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
It further alleged that Adoke caused to be made, in structured cash payments, in 22 tranches, a total sun of N80m into his Unity Bank Account, which sums he knew was part of an unlawful act.
Meanwhile, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as they persuaded the court to release them on bail pending the determination of allegations EFCC levelled against them.
Though Adoke’s legal team was led by a former AGF, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, his bail application was argued by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, while Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, argued on behalf of the 2nd defendant.
The defendants noted that the charge against them contained bailable offences, saying they would make themselves available for trial.
Chief Ozekhome told the court that his client was re-arrested shortly after he perfected all the bail conditions that were earlier handed to him by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory at Gwagwalada.
He said his client remained in EFCC custody where he fell seriously ill and was subsequently hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre in the Jabi District of Abuja.
Ozekhome said it was from the hospital that the ex-AGF was brought before the court for the arraignment.
Consequently, aside praying the court to grant Adoke bail on very liberal terms, Ozekhome said his client would prefer to be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre rather than EFCC custody.
He told the court that his client voluntarily returned to the country from the United Arab Emirate.