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January 10, 2024

Court remands ex-minister Agunloye in Kuje prison over $6bn Mambila deal

Agunloye

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the remand of the former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, in Kuje prison.

By Udeme Akpan

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the remand of the former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, in Kuje prison.

He was remanded at the Kuje Correctional Center by trial Justice Donatus Okorowo, after he was docked before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over his alleged complicity in fraud.

The defendant, who had also served as a Minister of State for Defence, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The court directed that he should remain in custody, pending the determination of his bail application.

Background:

It will be recalled that the EFCC declared Agulonye wanted in connection with a $6 billion power scheme involving the Mambilla hydropower project.

Agunloye, who was a minister under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government between 1999 and 2003, has been fingered in the controversy about the Mambilla power project, especially by Obasanjo, who accused him of illegally awarding the scheme with approval by the Federal Executive Council.

However, Agunloye has denied any wrongdoing in the project and said that Obasanjo was merely distorting information against him.

Agunloye in a statement issued December, 22, 2023 by his friend, Oluwafisan Bankale.

said all players in the making of this fiasco must be identified publicly and brought to book.

According to him, “Such a move at this moment provides this government the much-needed straw to clutch on to demonstrate its readiness, or otherwise, to rid our dear country of these debilitating problems of corruption hoisted on the German foundation of impunity.”

He argued that the charges of fraud and forgery against him will not stick, knowing who he is.

“My spirits are high and have been high all along. I am innocent of the charges brought against me by EFCC. I am innocent of the International Arbitration on the Mambilla Project in France.

“I came out of EFCC detention at about midday yesterday, 20th December. I thank God for His mercies and graciousness. I also thank my family members, friends, associates, and God-sent facilitators for their roles and concerns. May God bless them all.

“I am currently battling my health issues, which deteriorated very badly during the incarceration by EFCC,” Agunloye added.

The EFCC had rearrested the ex-minister on December 13, 2023, after getting an arrest warrant following allegations that Agunloye jumped bail.

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