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N20m fraud: Kwara perm sec, others to remain in EFCC custody

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Four officials of the Kwara State government accused of N20.3 million money laundering charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were yesterday returned to the custody of the anti-graft agency.

EFCC had last week arraigned Abubakar Ishiak (Permanent Secretary, Government House), Shina Akorede (Director of Finance and Administration), Rasaq Momonu (Controller Finance and Accounts) and Hafeez Yusuf (Cashier) – all of government house – before a Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin, the state capital.

Abubakar Ishiak, it was gathered, is due for retirement from the Kwara State Civil Service next month.

In the charge sheet, EFCC accused the four of making “cash payment of N20.3 million to one Energy Multi-Trade Interbiz Limited for services rendered to the Kwara State Government House, which cash sum exceeded the limitation of N10 million payable to a body corporate.

The offence is contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 12(2) of the same Act.”

The court asked them to be remanded at the EFCC custody last week.

At the resumed hearing yesterday on their bail application, counsel to the defendant applicants (accused) Abdulwahab Bamidele urged the court to grant them bail pending the determination of the allegations levelled against them.

“I crave your indulgence to adopt our written address in support of the main application as well as the reply on point of law. I most graciously urge your lordship to grant this application,” he said.

Opposing the bail application, counsel to EFCC Christopher Mshelia urged the court to discountenance the bail application of the defendant-applicants.

Rather, Mshelia prayed the court to accord the case accelerated hearing.

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He said: “By way of adumbration, we concede that the issue of bail is the discretion of the court. However, there are guiding principles as to how such discretion should be exercised. Section 162 of the

Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 does not impose an obligation on the court, rather it situates the determination of bail to the discretionary powers of the court.

“It is an obligation on the applicants to provide sufficient materials for the court to sway the discretionary powers in their favour. We submit that the court should consider the nature of the allegations against the applicants. The reasons adduced by the applicants are too watery to warrant the exercise of the discretionary powers of the court for bail.”

After listening to the counsel’s arguments, Justice Baba Gana Ashigir defer ruling on the bail application till a later date.

Hearing on the substantive case has been fixed for June 23, 2019.

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