N156.4m ‘fraud’: Ex-NIMASA DG re-arraigned after four-year trial

Four years after he began trial for allegedly stealing N156.4million, a former Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Jauro, faced re-arraignment yesterday for the same offence.

Jauro, Dr Dauda Bawa and a firm, Thlumbau Enterprises Ltd, were again brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the Federal High Court (FHC) in Lagos.

According to the EFCC, sum was stolen from NIMASA, on or about January 6, 2014, in Lagos, contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

Each defendant pleaded not guilty to a 19-count charge before Justice Chuka Obiozor.

EFCC counsel, Mr. Usman Buhari, applied for a date for commencement of trial and to make an order remanding the defendants in correctional custody.

But defence counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), opposed him.

Ojo prayed the court to allow the defendants continue on the N5million bail granted them four years ago.

In a ruling, Justice Obiozor granted Ojo’s bail request and adjourned till March 17, 2021 for commencement of trial.

The defendants were first arraigned for the alleged offence on April 12, 2016, but before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, also of the FHC.

They pleaded not guilty, were granted N5m bail and trial commenced with the EFCC calling 16 witnesses.

But proceedings were halted not long after the court fixed a date for the adoption of final addresses, when Justice Olatoregun retired in November 2019.

The case was then re-assigned to Justice Obiozor.

(THISDAY)