NIMASA ex-acting DG, Jauro opts for plea-bargain
The former acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Jauro has initiated a plea-bargain process with the Federal Government.
Jauro and two others are being prosecuted for an alleged N304.1 million fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
As a result, the trial judge, Mojisola Olatoregun has adjourned till November 21, 2016 for a report on the plea-bargain process.
EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo yesterday informed the court that the defendants had approached the anti-graft agency to explore the option of plea-bargain.
He said: “I confirm the intention of the defence to enter into a plea-bargain with the prosecution.”
Jauro’s counsel, Chief Babajide Koku (SAN) also confirmed to the court that his client had decided to enter into plea bargain with the EFCC.
Jauro, Dr. Dauda Bawa and a firm, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited were arraigned on 19 counts on April 12, 2016 by the EFCC.
Jauro assumed the leadership of NIMASA following the sacking of an erstwhile director general of the agency, Patrick Apkobolokemi, who is now being prosecuted alongside others for multi-billion naira alleged fraud in the agency.
The EFCC accused Jauro and others of conspiring among themselves to defraud NIMASA to the tune of N304.1 million between January 2014 and September 2015.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants converted the sum to their own.
Oyedepo told the court that the accused acted contrary to Section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and were liable to punishment under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts, following which they were admitted to a bail of N5 million each with two sureties in like sum.
Koku said his client took the decision on Monday and had already commenced talks with the EFCC.
He said: “It (plea-bargain decision) came up this morning. I discussed directly with my learned friend, the prosecuting counsel.”