- EFCC to dock Nyako, son, ex-commissioners
- over alleged N17bn scam
Justice Nathaniel Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State, has ordered six Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, officials and four others involved in the N8.3 billion fraud to be remanded in Agodi Prison, pending the filing and hearing of their application for bail on June 8, 2015.
The judge fixed July 6 and 7, 2015, for the hearing of the 31-count charge filed against the accused persons by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The accused, who were arraigned for fraud, conspiracy, concealment and acquisition of property illegally, among others, were docked in three batches.
The first batch had Patience Okoro Eye, Afolabi Olufemi Johnson, Ilori Adekunle Sunday, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf. They were arraigned on a five-count charge.
The second batch included Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Togun Kayode Philips, Salami Ibraheem (Sterling Bank) and Oddia Emmanuel (Sterling Bank), who were charged for 11 offences.
In the third batch were Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Togun Kayode Philips and Tope Akintade (Eco Bank), who were arraigned on a 15- count charge of false entry of cash deposited by the Eco Bank of N490million at the CBN as against N79.7million of N1,000 mutilated notes between 2010 and 2014.
All the accused pleaded not guilty to the 31-count charge levelled against them by the EFCC.
Counsel to the fourth accused person in suit number FHC/IB/26C/2015, Barrister Bolanle, and lawyers to the accused made oral application for bail for them.
Bolanle, who supported his argument with the case of federal government versus MKO Abiola, declared that the constitution of Nigeria allows for oral application for bail once the case does not carry a capital punishment.
But counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacob (SAN) urged the trial judge to order the accused to be remanded in prison custody pending the filing, hearing and determination of their application for bail.
Jacob noted that section 162 of Administration of Justice Act categorises the level of offences for which the court can grant bail into three: bail for capital offences, bail for indictable offences and bail for minor offences. He submitted that it was only on minor offences that the judge can grant bail to the accused persons.
The first charge read that: “You, Patience Okoro Eye, Afolabi Oluyemi Johnson, Ilori Adekunle Sunday, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf, on or about 5th of August, 2014, in Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, have abused your office, being employees of Central Bank of Nigeria, contributed to the economic adversity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when you destroyed a box marked ‘Counted Audited Dirty’ filled with newspapers in place of a box containing N10million of N1,000 denomination, and which activity led to the increase of money in circulation which the briquetting exercise of CBN which contravenes the constitution of Nigeria, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 1(2)(B) and section 10(1) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision Act) Cap R4 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Meanwhile, EFCC is set to dock former Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, his son, Abdulaziz Nyako, who is a senator-elect, a former manager of Unity Bank and two former commissioners who served in Nyako’s administration before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Nyako, who was grilled for about six hours on Monday by the EFCC over alleged mismanagement of about N17billion while in office, is still under interrogation by operatives of the commission.
Spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren yesterday confirmed to Nigerian Pilot that Nyako was still in the custody of the anti-graft agency for further interrogation.
Another source in the commission disclosed that Nyako would soon be docked alongside his son and other three associates before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The quizzing of the former governor came two days after his return from a self-imposed exile on Saturday.
The amount in question was said to be in relation with N2billion withdrawn in 181 transactions from the Adamawa Joint State/Local Government Account by a permanent secretary on the alleged directive of the ex-governor, between 2007 and 2014.
Nyako is also explaining to the operatives how N15billion cash was allegedly laundered into the accounts of five companies owned by one of his children, Abdul-Aziz Nyako.
The firms are Blue Opal Nigeria Limited, Crust Energy Nigeria Limited, Blue Ribbon Multilinks Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Blue Ribbon Bureau De Change.
An EFCC operative said that Nyako arrived at the commission at about 9.50am on Monday and 10am yesterday, having been declared wanted by the anti-graft agency.
Although a reception was scheduled for the ex-governor in Yola on Monday, he chose to honour the EFCC’s invitation to avoid any embarrassment at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, and the Yola Airport in his home state.
The source said: “Nyako willingly came to the EFCC for interaction with our team. Our operatives were going after him but he beat us to the game.
“The allegations border on massive looting of the treasury, especially the Joint State/Local Government Account, criminal conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering,” he said.
The operatives continued: “The issues against the ex-governor are curious withdrawals from the Joint State/Local Government Account as follows: N2billion (August 2011 and 2012); N600million (October 2009 and February 2011); N500million (March 2008 and March 2011) among others.
“There was also suspicious transfer of N15billion belonging to the state into the accounts of five companies of one of his children, Abdul-Aziz Nyako. We had earlier arrested the son for interaction,” he said.