The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has granted permission for a former Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, to be prosecuted over alleged complicity in money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleged that Oduah, who served as Aviation Minister from 2011 to 2014, and currently the senator representing Anambra North, laundered public funds to the tune of about N7.9billion, in connivance with eight others.
Other Defendants in the 25-count money laundering charge the EFCC filed before the court, are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd and Sobora International Ltd.
The anti-graft agency, in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/316/20, alleged that Oduah and Odita who was identified as her aid and the Company Secretary to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Ltd (SPGC), had in February 2014, used their positions to transfer the sum of N1,629,250,000.00 from I-Sec Security Nig. Ltd account No. 2021756955 with First Bank Plc, to Global Offshore and Marine Ltd account No. 2022977296 also domiciled with First Bank Plc, which money they reasonably ought to have known that it formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
Oduah and Odita were accused of opening a naira “anonymous Private Banking Nominee Account No. 2024414450 with First Bank Plc and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 11(4) (a) of the same Act.”
They were, equally accused of opening a United State dollar “anonymous Private Banking Nominee account No. 2024414498 with First Bank Plc and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 1 1(4) (a) of the same Act.”
Though the charge was filed since 2020, the Defendants have been unable to enter their plea owing to a petition they wrote to the AGF.
Malami had urged the court to put the trial on hold to enable him to review the case file.
The Prosecution counsel, Mr. Hassan Liman, SAN, further tendered a copy of the directive from the AGF for the Defendants to be tried, to the court.
Oduah, who was present in court, did not refute the position of the EFCC.
Consequently, Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the matter till February 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17, 2023, for arraignment and accelerated trial of the Defendants.