Tuesday, 3 April 2012

el-Rufai and others on EFCC's list of cases for trial this April

Ibrahim Larmode

TOP corruption cases on the prosecution list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), would be expeditiously prosecuted this month, according to the anti-corruption agency.
The list of cases for April, which was made exclusively available to The Guardian, indicates that most of the cases, including the alleged N4.56b Head of Service Pension Office and the N32.8 billion Police Pension Office scams have been slated for trial this month.
Also, the N10b loan scam against former Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, and the case of abuse of office by former Minister of FCT Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, are on the list for accelerated trial.
The prosecution timetable also indicates that the Commission is to hit the ground running from Tuesday April 3, with the N32.8 billion alleged corruption case against a Permanent Secretary, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, who is being charged on 16-count along with five others.

The charges border on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust; and others charged with him are Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yusufu, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira.

The case will be heard by Justice M. Talba of the FCT. Kigo and the five other plaintiffs are currently being held in Kuje Prisons pending the commencement of trial.

The case of alleged N4.56 billion scam in the Head of Service Pension Office involving Dr. Teidi Shuaibu and 31 others will be heard by Justice A. Bello on April 16 and 17.

Shuaibu, who is currently on bail, had his eight choice properties seized by the EFCC, with the Commission promising to seize the properties of the other 31 accused persons in the case.

EFCC's spokesman, Wilson Uwajaren, told The Guardian, that Shuaibu had been to court and is now on bail and that trial had been slated for this month.

The properties seized have been placed on interim forfeiture following an order of Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja. The order was given on July 11, 2011.

According to Uwajaren, the court had empowered the EFCC to carry out the forfeiture. Some of the properties seized include two houses and four filling stations.

Uwajaren also noted that the court granted an order permitting the Executive Chairman of EFCC to seize and retain custody of all the properties or assets of persons (as listed in the attached schedules) though not yet charged but found to be connected with the transaction or allegation contained in charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/28/2011.

The case of alleged abuse of office against Nasir El-Rufai, will be heard by Justice Umar on April 2, 5, and 9th. A recent hearing on the case implicated a Serving senator, Philip Aduda, and Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, who served in the last senate. A former operative of the EFCC, Sunday Idowu, being led in evidence, had said that Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and two of his officials, Atine Jubrin, former Director-General, Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) and Ismail Iro, former General- Manager of AGIS; unilaterally revoked some juicy plots of land and allocated same to themselves, their relatives and their companies.

Mr. Sunday Idowu indicted nine private individuals, including two wives of the former minister, daughter of former President Obasanjo, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, a serving senator, Philip Aduda and the 2nd and 3rd accused persons, whom he said the parcels of land were re-allocated to.

The case against Dimeji Bankole will be heard by Justice Okorowa on April 3 and 5. Also on the list for continued trial this month are ex-minister of works, Hassan Lawal. His case will be heard by Justice A. Bello on April 24. The case against Elumelu, Ugbanne and others will be heard on April 30 by Justice A. Banjoko.

Former governors that have been slated for the dock this month include Jolly Nyame, whom a witness confessed before the court last week to have withdrawn N262 million cash; all of whom he was said not to have signed or issued receipts for.

Others are Abubakar Audu of Kogi state who will be docked before Justice S.T.Useni in Lokoja on April 2, 5 and 11.


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