EFCC arraigns ex-bank chair, others for alleged N25b fraud

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By Matthew Ogune

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned a former chairman of the defunct Skye Bank Plc., Tunde Ayeni, before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 10-count charge relating to money laundering to the tune N25,415, 080,000. He was charged alongside the erstwhile managing director, Timothy Ajani Oguntayo, and two companies, Control Dredging Company Ltd., and Royaltex paramount Ventures Ltd., for allegedly conspiring at different times to divert depositors’ funds.

They nonetheless pleaded innocence to the charges.Counsel to the first, third and fourth defendants, Wale Akonni, SAN, thereafter moved the bail applications for his clients, arguing that the charges were bailable. Similar prayer was asked by the lawyer to the second defendant, Dele Adesina, SAN.
Counsel to the EFCC, Abba Mohamed, however objected the applications.

After listening to their arguments, the presiding judge admitted the first and second defendants to bail in the sum of N100 million and two sureties in like sum, who must be residents of Abuja with landed property. They are also to present tax clearances for 2016, 2017 and 2018 that must be verified by the court registrar.

Justice Ojukwu consequently adjourned the case to May 27, 28 and June 4, 2019. Both Ayeni and Oguntayo were on March 6 arraigned before Justice Valentine Ashi of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Apo for a separate four-count criminal charge on N4,597,500,000.

Similarly, they were on December 17 2018, visitors of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the FHC sitting in Abuja for a related scam allegation suit. The jurist has since been transferred to the Asaba division of the court.Besides, the EFCC has faulted the claim by a United Kingdom agency accusing it and other bodies of frustrating Nigeria’s anti-graft crusade by their alleged lack of synergy.

Its acting spokesperson, Tony Orilade in a statement yesterday in Abuja, observed that the report credited to the Programme Manager of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme of the British Council, Uche Emmanuel, contained “several illogicalities” capable of misleading Nigerians and the international community.

He said: “It is striking to note that the General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in the same forum where Mr. Emmanuel threw caution to the wind with his unsupported allegation, disclosed that the corporation through the combined efforts of the Department of State Security (DSS), EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), recently recovered assets worth over N771million from oil marketers who had under-paid it for petroleum products supplied to them.”

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