THE Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday granted leave to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arraign former Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Jonah Otunla on a five-count charge, bordering on money laundering.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba fixed the date for Otunla who was charged alongside with Gold Reef Industries Limited, Lambster Nigeria Limited, G.C Electronic Limited, Sinmilak Nigeria Limited, Wehsac Farms Limited, Shepherded Field Global Resources Limited and Stellavera Development Company Limited to take plea.
The arraignment was adjourned till next year after counsel to the former AGF, Mr Adeola Adeife, informed the court that his client was critically down with an undisclosed illness.
EFCC alleged that the erstwhile AGF illegally diverted N2 billion from the account of the Office of the National Security (ONSA), domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), between June and August 2013.
EFCC said the N2 billion was withdrawn from ONSA account on the guise that it was payment for the supply of security equipment.
The Commission insisted that the illegally diverted fund formed part of proceeds of an unlawful activity of the then NSA, Col. Sambo Mohammed Dasuki (rtd).
In charge which was signed by EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, the court was told that the N2 billion was transferred from ONSA account and disbursed into the accounts of several other companies, including the company that Otunba Ade Adelakun is a signatory.
EFCC equally alleged that a former Director, Special Duties in ONSA, and a signatory to the accounts of Helpline Organisation, Col. Bello Fadile, who was said to be at large, was also a beneficiary of the part of the proceeds of the alleged crime.
The alleged offences for which the ex-AGF will be arraigned in January were said to be contrary to Section 15(2) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 15 (3) and (4) of the same Act.
Some of the charges against the defendants read:
“That you Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, being the former Accountant General of the Federation and a Director and signatory to Ecobank account of Wehsac Farms Ltd, Otunba Ade Adelakun being the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and a signatory to the accounts of Gold Reef Industries Limited – Fidelity Bank, Lambster Nigeria Limited – Zenith Bank, G.C. Electronics Limited – GTB and Sinmilak Nigeria Limited – Fidelity Bank, Col. Bello Fadile (now at large), being the former Director, Special Duties in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and also a Director and signatory to the accounts of Helpline Organisation – Diamond Bank and Justice and Peace Consultants – GTB, sometime between June and August 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired to commit an illegal act, to wit: money laundering of the sum of N2 billion transferred from the account of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria to the accounts of Gold Reef Industries Limited with Fidelity Bank account No: 4010112969, Lambster Nigeria Limited with Zenith Bank Plc account No: 1011813502, G.C. Electronic Limited with GTB Plc account No: 0024330333 and Sinmilak Nigeria Limited with Fidelity Bank Plc account No: 4010160616 purporting to be for supply at security equipment and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 15 (3) and (4) of the some Act.”