Ex-minister, 2 others in court over N450million
– Former minister of water resources is in court over a N450million fraud allegation
– Other defendants in court with her are former Plateau state PDP chairman and an evangelist
– The trio appeared to answer a two-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering
A former Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, and two others on Monday appeared before a Jos Federal High Court over alleged money laundering involving N450 million.
Mrs. Ochekpe, who was arraigned by the EFCC, appeared along with Raymond Dabo, former PDP Chairman in Plateau, and Leo-Sunday Jatau, an evangelist and Coordinator of the President Goodluck Jonathan campaign in 2015.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the trio appeared to answer a two-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.
When the charges were read to the accused standing trial before Justice Musa Kurya, they pleaded not guilty.
The Prosecuting counsel, A. Y. Manchata, told the court that sometimes in 2015, the sum of N450 million was transferred from the account of then former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alison Diezeni-Madueke, to the account of one of the defendants, who allegedly withdrew and laundered it.
But the defence Counsel, Sunday Odey, who challenged the allegations of the EFCC, applied for the bail of the three accused persons, who he described as “people of high integrity.’’
“My Lord, since my clients have pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge, I hereby apply for their bail on self-recognition.”
Responding, the EFCC Counsel objected to the bail application, insisting that the accused should be remanded in Prison considering the weight of the offence.
Mr. Odey, however, countered Mr. Manchata’s position, and stated that he would stand as surety and produce the trio at the next adjourned date of the case.
After listening to the arguments of the two lawyers, Kurya granted them bail on self-recognition and adjourned the case to Feb. 13 and 14 for hearing.
It was previously reported that a former governor of Niger state, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, appeared at the Federal High Court, sitting in Minna, on Monday, January 22 over an alleged N2 billion fraud case for which he is being tried before Justice Yalim S Bogoro.
The court however adjourned the case to February 20, 2018.
Fondly called the Chief Servant while he was governor, Aliyu is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his chief of staff, Umar Nasko, on an eight-count charge of abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.