FG files fresh charges against Stella Oduah, Chinese firm, others

The Federal Government has commenced move to prosecute a former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, some of her aides, a Chinese firm and others over their alleged complicity in the laundering of about N10billion.

WITHIN NIGERIA learnt that the federal government through the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed a 25-count charge against them before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Listed along with Oduah, as defendants in the charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2020 are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Ltd.

The nine defendants were charged with conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with First Bank Plc.

At the mention of the charge for the first time on Tuesday before Justice Inyang Ekwo, the former Aviation Minister, who is now a Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, was absent.

Lawyer to the EFCC, Hassan Liman (SAN) told the court that he was aware that the charge has not been served on Oduah, listed as the first defendant.

Liman sought an adjournment to enable the prosecution effect service on all the defendants, following which they could be arraigned.

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Ruling, Justice Ekwo adjourned till February 22 for the arraignment of the defendants.

The now disbanded Special Presidential Panel on the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) had once filed a money laundering charge against Oduah, which was not prosecuted.

In count four of the fresh charge, Oduah Odita (whilst being the Company Secretary to Sea Petroleum & Gas Company Ltd (SPGC), and an aide to the former Minister of Aviation) were said to have in February, 2014 used their positions to transfer N1,629,250,000.00 from I-Sec Security Nig. Ltd account No. 2021756955 with First Bank Plc to Global Offshore and Marine Ltd account No. 2022977296 also domiciled with First Bank Plc, which money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

They were, in count 21 said to have, between March and May, 2014 took control of N1,225,347,254.00 transferred from China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Ltd bank account with Zenith Bank Plc to Private Banking Nominee account No. 2024414450 domiciled with First Bank Plc, which money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: Fraud and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

Oduah and Odita were, in count 24, accused of opening a naira “anonymous Private Banking Nominee Account No. 2024414450 with First Bank Plc and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 11(4) (a) of the same Act.”

They were, in count 25, accused of opening a United State dollar “anonymous Private Banking Nominee account No. 2024414498 with First Bank Plc and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 1 1(4) (a) of the same Act.”

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