Alleged N29bn Fraud: EFCC wants ex- governor Nyako, son to open defence

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja to order a former Adamawa governor, Murtala Nyako and his son, Abdulaziz, to enter their defence in the fraud charge levelled against them.

The EFCC is prosecuting the former governor, his son, two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd, over money laundering charges.

The counsel to the EFCC, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, made the request while responding to the no-case-submission filed by Mr Nyako and his co-defendants.

Mr Atolagbe argued that counts one to 14 of the charge preferred against the defendants bordered on the offence of conversion, punishable under Section 15 of the Money Laundering Act.

The second category of the charge, according to the EFCC counsel, which relates to counts 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 34, 35, “borders on disguising the genuine origin of proceeds of crime under the same section of the act.”

Mr Atolagbe said the 3rd category, which related to counts 19, 20, 21, 30, 31, 32, and 33 of the charge bordered on “collaborating in disguising the genuine origin of proceeds of fraud.

The prosecuting counsel told the court that counts 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29, fell under the 4th category of the charge, which bordered on obtaining money under false pretence, under Section 1(1) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act and other related offences.

“The 5th category of the offences that the defendants were charged is conspiracy to launder funds which relates to count 36, and they were charged under Section 15(10) and (18) of the Money Laundering Act.”

According to Mr Atolagbe, the 6th category of the charge is conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, and relates to count 37.
The EFCC lawyer maintained that he had been able to prove his case against the defendants.

“Finally, the only thing my lord will actually refer to is the evidence before the court and see whether there is a prima facie case established against all the defendants.

For his part, counsel to all the defendants told the court that they needed a short adjournment to enable them to reply on points of law to the oral arguments canvassed by the prosecuting counsel.

The trial judge, Okon Abang, adjourned the matter until July 16 and July 17.

Other defendants in the matter are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd.

The EFCC had arraigned the defendants on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering.

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