Ex-NDDC Committee Chair, Mutu, Arraigned For ‘Fraud’
A FORMER Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nicholas Mutu Ebomo has been arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on charges of fraud and abuse of office.
Nationonline reports that Mutu was arraigned on Monday, with two firms – Airworld Technologies Ltd and Oyien Homes Ltd – on an 11-count charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/123/2019 filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to Nation, Mutu pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. Pleas of not guilty were also entered for the other defendants.
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After the arraignment, the prosecuting lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho requested for a trial date and prayed the court to remand the 1st defendant (Mutu) in prison.
His lawyer, Patrick Ikweto (SAN) said the defence was equally ready for the trial.
Ikweto then prayed the court to grant bail to the 1st defendant, noting that he has been on the administrative bail garnted him earlier by the EFCC.
He noted that Mutu attended court on Monday from his home and on his own volition.
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Responding, Iheanacho objected to bail for the 1st defendant and said: “My lord we cannot take the risk we took in 2018 when we granted him bail, he was released in the name of one Anthony John Ikpoyi, SAN.
“From that day till date, the defendant dishonoured the terms and conditions of bail, and never showed up to EFCC office. So many efforts were made including arresting the sureties, yet he refused to show up.
“Even the record of the court shows that the matter came up on three different times, but it couldn’t go on because they couldn’t produce the first defendant.
“So, my lord, his coming today to court is not voluntarily, but because of fear that arrest warrant is to be issued against him.”
In a ruling, Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo allowed Mutu to remain on the administrative bail earlier granted him by the EFCC.
The judge adjourned till February 25 this year for trial.
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A count in the charge reads:”That you, Hon. Nicholas Mutu Ebomo (m) whilst being the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission, between August 2014 and August 2016 in Abuja, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did procure Airworld Technologies Ltd to conceal of the sum of N320,159,689.63 (Three hundred and twenty million, one hundred and fifty-nine thousand, six hundred and eighty-nine naira, sixty-three kobo) to be paid by Starline Consultancy Services Ltd when you reasonably ought to have known that the said sum of N320,159,689.63 formed part of proceeds of corruption, gratification and fraudulent acquisition of property and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(c) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended by Act No. 1 of (2012) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Evans Re-arraigned For Kidnapping, Attempted Murder
Convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, has been re-arraigned over the alleged kidnapping and attempted murder before a Lagos State High Court sitting in the Tafawa Balewa Square area.
Evans’ re-arraignment on Thursday follows the transfer of the case file from Justice Adedayo Akintoye, who is the initial trial judge.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court in September 2022 sentenced Evans and his co-defendant, Victor Aduba, to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping one Sylvanus Hafia.
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They were convicted of conspiring and kidnapping Hafia around 5:30 pm on June 23, 2014, at Kara Street, Amuwo Odofin, in Lagos and to have captured and detained Hafia and demanded a ransom of $2m.
However, the matter started afresh before Justice Ibironke Harrison, where Evans was again arraigned alongside Joseph Emeka, Victor Aduba and Okapara Linus.
The four are facing five counts bordering on conspiracy, kidnapping, and attempted murder, preferred against them by Lagos State.
Evans and his co-defendants were arraigned for allegedly kidnapping Chief James Uduji and collecting a ransom of $1.2m dollars.
They, and others at large, allegedly committed the offence on September 7, 2015 at 7th Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos.
The defendants were also accused of attempted murder by allegedly firing shots at Uduji and Donatus Nwoye which hit him on the hand and again shot one Mr Jereome Okezie on the hand and head.
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According to the prosecution, the offences committed contravened Sections 411, 271 (3) and 230 (A), of the criminal laws of Lagos State 2015.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Harrison subsequently adjourned that matter till May 3 and 4, 2023 for trial.
Prof Facing N1.4bn Fraud Case Gets N1m Bail
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned a Professor, Uche Edwin, before the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on charges of alleged N1.4 billion fraud.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the EFCC’s Spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren on Thursday.
Edwin was arraigned alongside his companies, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, NEMAD Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention and conversion of funds to the tune of N1, 473,367,046.04 belonging to Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.
He, however, pleaded “not guilty” to the 11-count charge.
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One of the counts reads: “ That you, Professor Uche Chigozie Edwin, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, Nemad Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, sometime in 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court , conspired amongst yourselves to use the sum of N1, 473,367,046.04, property of the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: fraud; and you thereby committed an offence , contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The prosecution counsel, C.C. Okezie, asked the court for a trial date and also asked that the defendant be remanded.
The defence counsel, Mobolaji Akintunde, in response, made an application for bail on behalf of his client.
He asked the court to admit his client to bail and also implored the court to allow his client to be remanded in EFCC custody pending when he would be able to meet the bail conditions the court might impose.
In a short ruling, the judge, Nicholas Oweibo, allowed bail to the defendant in the sum of N1 million and two sureties in like sum.
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The sureties, according to the court, must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, show a tax clearance certificate of three months as well as their passport photographs.
The defendant was also ordered to deposit his passport with the court.
The judge adjourned the trial till 27 June for the commencement of the trial.
JUST IN: Court Jails Ex-Imo Commissioner
A former Commissioner for Transport in Imo State, Laz Anyanwu, was on Tuesday sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Anyanwu, who served during the administration of ex-governor Rochas Okorocha, was sentenced after he was found guilty of the charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judge, K. A Lewanya, while sentencing the former commissioner said that the jail term would serve concurrently.
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The judge said that the convict was found guilty of fraud , looting of public funds and stealing.
The justice said that the former commissioner was found guilty of diverting N180 million of state funds into a private company account where he was a major shareholder and sole signatory when he superintended and doubled as commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo State transport company, ITC, which is against section 12 and 19 of the ICPC Act 2020.
The judge held that Anyanwu by that action had violated the Public Procurement Act, abused his office and used his office to gain undue advantage in his dealings during his tenure as the commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo state transport company, ITC.
The judge said that the EFCC lawyer, Micheal Ani, was able to proof beyond reasonable doubt that when Anyanwu was commissioner for transport between 2015 and 2019, he transferred the sum of N100 million from the ITC account to his private company named Oma Oil Industries Limited, which is against section 12 and 19 of the ICPC Act 2020 for a public servant.
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The judge also said that the ex-commissioner signed off another N80 million from government coffers directly to his private company account with the motive that he wanted to procure some vehicles for ITC without due process and recourse to the public procurement act.
The judge, while sentencing him to prison, said the former commissioner looted the sum of N180 million found in his account said to be for the state transport company.
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