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$40m ‘fraud’: Jonathan’s cousin has case to answer, court rules

$40m ‘fraud’: Jonathan’s cousin has case to answer, court rules
March 29
20:59 2018
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A federal high court sitting in Abuja on Thursday ruled that Azibaola Robert, a cousin of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has to face at two-count charge.

Nnamdi Dimgba, the presiding judge, sustained two of the 9-count amended charge of money laundering and criminal conspiracy preferred against Azibaola by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Azibaola was charged alongside his wife, Stella Azibaola and their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited for the alleged diversion of $40 million meant for the supply of tactical communication kits for special forces.

The money was allegedly transferred from the account of the office of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA)with the Central Bank of Nigeria to the domiciliary account of their company

The anti-graft agency had called ten witnesses and tendered 27 documents before the court, after which it closed its case on January 23.

Chris Uche, counsel to Azibaola, then filed a no-case submission to dismiss the charge against his clients.

Uche said the prosecution had failed to establish a nexus between the defendant and the alleged offence.

According to him, the evidence presented by the prosecution showed no nexus with the defendants.

However, Francis Jirbo, counsel to the EFCC, argued that the prosecution had established a prima facie case to the effect that there was a document which talked about a contract for the supply of communication kits for special forces and there was nothing to show that the kits were provided or supplied.

Dimgba ruled in favour of the prosecutor, holding that “the no-case submission succeeded in part and also failed in part”.

He held that a prima facie case had been established against the 1st and 3rd defendants – Robert Azibaola and his company respectively- on counts 2 and 3, while upholding the no case submission on counts 1,4,5,6,7,8 and 9, but acquitted Stella on all counts.

He, consequently, ordered the 1st and 3rd defendant to enter their defence as a prima facie case has been established against them on counts 2 and 3.

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