David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Federal High Court in Awka has adjourned for February 15 the matter between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nnaemeka Nwawka, a petroleum engineer and former Managing Director of Orient Petroleum Resources Limited and three others over charges of fraud and money laundering.
Nwawka and three of his fellow defendants were yesterday docked for a 10-count charge of fraud and money laundering which was allegedly perpetuated between 2012 and 2013.
The matter which was instituted on behalf of the federal government by EFCC against Nwawka with charge number FHC/AWK/C/92/2017, came up before Hon Justice I Gafai, and also had Jude Cyril Aniekwe, Agbaim Nwachukwu and the registered trustees of Sage Nebeife Foundation as defendants.
The charge sheet obtained by THISDAY read in part: â€œThat you, Jude Aniekwe Cyril on or about July 20, 2012, in Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this court did make cash payment to the tune of N15,100,000 which exceeded the stated threshold without passing through financial institution to Agbim Nwachukwu, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section16(1)(d) of the money laundering act 2011 as amended in 2012, and punishable under section 16(2)(a) of same act.
â€œThat you, Nnaemeka Nwawka, the registered trustee of Sage Nebeife foundation, and Jude Aniekwe Cyril sometimes between April 23 and December 21, 2012, within the jurisdiction of this court directly or indirectly took control of the aggregate sum of N110,332,670 which was transferred from Velberg International Limited account domiciled in Standard Chartered Bank account no. 0000777216 into the account of Sage Nebeife Foundation domiciled in First Bank with account no. 201745211 when you knew that the funds formed part of unlawful activities of Nwawka to wit, fraud and hereby committed an offence contrary to section15 (2)(d) of money laundering(prohibition) act 2011 as amended in 2012.â€
The charges showed that within the period, Nwawka and his fellow defendants took control of the sums of N110million and N42million respectively, which were seen by the EFCC to be acts of money laundering.
When the matter was called up yesterday, counsel to the second and third defendants, AC Ogbuodudu, pleaded for time to study the matter, saying he recently took over from a previous counsel to the defendants.
Counsel to EFCC, Victor Ukagwu, however, kicked against the adjournment of the matter for a latter day, insisting that Ogbuodudu ought to have been adequately briefed before assuming the matter, especially as the matter had taken some time.
He also stated that two of his witnesses, Chief Cletus Ibeto and Chidi Nweke, were in court ready to testify, and pleaded for the witnesses to be given time to testify, while cross examination could be deferred to a later date.
â€œI say this because one of my witnesses, Ibeto, is not a man that is so easy to track down. Since he is here today, we can hear his testimony before adjourning for cross examination to give my friend time to prepare. If we miss this opportunity, it may be hard for us to get it again,â€ Ukagwu pleaded.
Justice Gafai, after due consideration, called on all the counsel to reach a compromise and agree to a more convenient date for the commencement of trial, leading to the acceptance of February 15 as the next adjourned date.