Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ilorin Zonal Office yesterday arraigned four officials of the Kwara State Government before Justice Babangana Ashigar of a Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin on a two-count charge bordering on money laundering.
Those arraigned include: Abubakar Ishiak, Permanent Secretary; Shina Mudasir Akorede, Director of Administration and Finance; Rasaq Momonu, Controller Finance and Account, and Hafees Yusuf, Cashier.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Abubakar Ishiak, being the Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Government House, Shina Mudasir Akorede, being the Director of Administration and Finance, Rasaq Momonu, being the Controller of Finance and Account, Kwara State Government House, and Hafees Yusuf, being the Cashier of Kwara State Government House on or about the 14th day of February 2019 at Ilorin, Kwara State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did make a cash payment of N20,300,000 (Twenty Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira) only to one Energy Multi-Trade Unique Interbiz Limited through the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Jimoh Sarafadeen Kolade for services rendered to Kwara State Government House, which cash sum exceeded the limitation of N10 million payable to a body corporate and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (b) and Punishable under section 16 of the same Act.”
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
Based on their plea, prosecuting counsel, Christopher Mschelia, prayed the court for a date for trial to commence as the EFCC was prepared to prove its case against them.
“We are asking your lordship to order that they should be remanded in prison,” Mschelia added, according to a statement by EFCC.
Lead defence counsel, Abdulwahab Bamidele, however made an oral application for bail.
But Mschelia urged the Court not to grant the request, insisting that “the substantive bail application is not ripe for hearing”.
Justice Ashigar in his ruling refused the oral application for bail, and ordered the defendants to be remanded in EFCC custody.
The case has been adjourned to May 8, 2019 for hearing of the formal bail application, while the trial is to commence on June 6.