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EFCC re-arraigns director for money laundering infraction in P&ID gas deal

By Lawrence Njoku, Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka) and Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
23 November 2021   |   3:07 am
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned the Commercial Director of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited, Mohammed Kuchazi, before Justice Zainab Abubakar

EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned the Commercial Director of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited, Mohammed Kuchazi, before Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Kuchazi and his company, Kore Holdings Limited, are being prosecuted on an eight-count charge bordering on alleged breach of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) as stipulated by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

At the resumed hearing, yesterday, the prosecuting counsel, Bala Sanga, told the court that the defendant was first arraigned before Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo, who had been transferred, hence the re-arraignment over the P&ID gas deal.

He requested that the charge be read to the defendant to take his plea.

Count one reads: “That you Kore Holdings Limited, being a designated non-financial institution; Muhammed Kuchazi, being a director of and signatory to the bank account of Kore Holdings Limited, sometime in May 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to comply with the requirements of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of the activities of Kore Holdings Limited contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with section 5(1) (a) (ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.”

Another count reads: “That you Muhammed Kuchazi, being a director of and signatory to the bank account of Kore Holdings Limited, sometime in May 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, aided Kore Holdings Limited in failing to develop programmes to combat money laundering and other illegal acts, to wit: failure to designate at management level a compliance officer within any strata of Kore Holdings Limited, contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with Section 9(1) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the same Act and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.”

The accused pleaded not guilty after reading the charges.

Following the not guilty plea, Sanga requested a trial date and told the judge that the defendant was granted bail by Justice Ogunbanjo.

The judge, thereafter, granted him bail on the same terms before adjourning the matter to February 1, 2022, for trial.