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EFCC arraigns ex-minister, aide, two firms for alleged N714.6m fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 16-count charge bordering on alleged N714.6m fraud.

Also arraigned were his Special Assistant, Sampson Okpetu and two firms namely: Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited.

Turaki, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) also served as Minister of Labour from 2014 to 2015 under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

One of the counts reads, “That you Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (while serving as minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs) in January 2015 within the jurisdiction of this court, did use N159m from the N359m released to the ministry for sensitisation and enlightenment of Muslim youths.

“That you spent the money, knowing that it is proceed of criminal misappropriation and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section (15(3).”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to all 16-count brought against him, while Okpetu pleaded not guilty to counts 10 to 12, just as the two firms also entered a not guilty plea.

In view of the pleas, prosecution counsel, Halifax Shehu, asked for a date for commencement of trial, stating that the prosecution has lined up nine witnesses for presentation in court on the matter.

Turaki’s defence team, led by Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN) and four others applied for his bail, urging the court to grant him bail on self-recognition.
Counsel to the second defendant, O.M. Atoyebi (SAN), also prayed the court to grant the defendant bail based on self-recognition or on liberal terms in line with the administrative bail the EFCC granted them.

While not opposing the bail applications, the prosecution urged the court to grant bail conditions that would ensure that the defendants attend court throughout the trial period.

In granting the bail applications, Justice Ekwo stated that the terms of the administrative bail EFCC granted the defendants were reasonable enough and therefore, adopted them.

He, therefore, ordered that the defendants continue to enjoy the administrative bail condition, adding that particulars of EFCC’s administrative bail be transferred to the Court Registrar, which included their international passports already in EFCC’s custody.

The case was adjourned to June 22 and 23, 2020.


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