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Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar plead ‘not guilty’ as trial commences

Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar plead ‘not guilty’ as trial commences
August 04
15:54 2020

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation (AGF), and Aliyu Abubakar, a businessman, after amending the initial charges.

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Both pleaded not guilty after the charges were read to them.

Previously, Adoke, alongside Aliyu Abubakar, a businessman was arraigned on a seven-count charge of offences bordering on allegations of money laundering.

The former AGF was answering to six out of the seven counts while Abubakar had only one.

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The counts are now seven for Adoke and seven for Abubakar.

On Monday, the EFCC had notified the court that fresh evidence found necessitated the need to file an amended charge against the defendants to 14 counts.

Inyang Ekwo, the judge, had scolded the anti-graft commission for its lateness in filing the amended charge adding that the case has dragged for too long since it was filed in 2017.

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At the resumed trial on Tuesday, Bala Sanga, counsel to the EFCC, withdrew the amended charge dated July 29 and asked that the defendants take their plea on another amended charge dated and filed on August 3.

Although counsel to the defendants had no objection to the withdrawal of the previously amended charge, Akin Olujinmi, counsel to Abubakar, raised an issue of jurisdiction.

He questioned the right of the court to hear the case during the annual vacation which has already commenced.

When the judge asked for reasons why he should not revoke Abubakar’s bail, Olujinmi reluctantly withdrew his objection.

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After the amended charges were read out, both defendants pleaded not guilty to the allegations against them.

In count one, Abubakar was accused of receiving a cash payment of $2 million from Farsman Holdings Limited, through one Abdulhakeem Uthman Mustapha in September 2013.

In the second count, he was accused of accepting another cash payment of $4 million from Farsman Holdings Limited, through the same Mustapha in September 2013.

Count three stated that between September 30, 2013, and October 2013, the businessman accepted payment totalling $84,700 from Farsman Holdings Limited, through Mustapha.

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In count four and five, the EFCC accused him of accepting cash payment of $3 million from the same firm and through the same person in October 2013.

In count six he was alleged to have “disguised the origins of the total sum of $12,084,700” knowing that “the funds formed part of an unlawful activity”.

Lastly, in count seven, Abubakar was accused of making a cash payment of N300 million (dollar equivalent) to Adoke in August 2013.

In count eight, the EFCC accused Adoke of a cash payment worth N300 million (dollar equivalent) from Abubakar sometime in August 2013, in Abuja,

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In count nine, he was accused of making a cash payment of $2,267,400 to one Rislanudeen Muhammed, in September 2013 in Abuja.

In count 11, Adoke was alleged to have made structured cash payment in 13 tranches of a sum of money totalling N50 million into his Unity Bank Plc Account No: 0020153263. The payment was said to be unlawful and exceeded the stated threshold amounts outside a financial institution.

He was also accused of making a structured cash payment in 22 tranches of a sum of money totalling N80 million into the same Unity Bank account (in count 12).

The former AGF in count 13 was accused of using N367,318,800 despite knowing that the money was gotten from unlawful activities.

The matter has been adjourned to August 11, 12 and 13 for the prosecution to open their case.

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