Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke, SAN, on Tuesday, re-arraigned before a Federal High Court, Abuja on money laundering related charges.
Adoke was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside an Abuja businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, on a seven-count charge.
In a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/39/2017, the EFCC is charging Adoke on six counts while Abubakar is arraigned on one-count charge.
Both defendants were alleged to have committed the alleged offences, involving about N400 million, in Abuja in Sept. 2013.
Adoke was accused of receiving the United States (U.S.) dollar equivalent of N300 million from Abubakar, and paying the dollar equivalent of N367,318,800 to one Usman Mohammed Bello, among other charges.
He was also accused of using N300 million which was alleged to be part of the proceeds of unlawful activities, acts classified as offences under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
The ex-AGF who served during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, was equally accused of making “structured cash payments in 22 tranches” amounting to N80 million, and another of such structured payments in 13 tranches, estimated at N50 million, into his Unity Bank account.”
On his part, Abubakar was accused of making a payment of US dollar equivalent of N300 million into Adoke’s account, in violation of the money laundering law.
However, both defendants pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to them by an official of the court.
Lead prosecution lawyer, Bala Sanga, said he would have applied for the remand of the defendants in prison, but for the reality of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sanga, who noted that the prosecution was not served any bail application on behalf of any of the defendants, said he would not object should lawyers to the defendants apply for bail orally.
Former AGF, Kanu Agabi, SAN, who appeared for Adoke, commended Sanga for his disposition.
Also, ex-AGF, Akin Olujinmi, SAN, who appeared for Abubakar, also spoke n the same vein.
Agabi and Olujinmi noted that the case was transferred from Justice Binta Nyako’s court, where the defendants were arraigned in February and granted bail.
They prayed the court to allow the defendants to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them, a request the new judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo acceded to.
Sanga later prayed the court for a short adjournment for the commencement of trial to enable the prosecution prove its case.
“We hope to open and close this case on time.
“Our witnesses are within jurisdiction, and we do not intend to call more than five witnesses,” he said.
Justice Ekwo then adjourned until Aug. 3 for trial.