The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wednesday re-arraigned a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), on money laundering-related charges involving about N400million.
The ex-AGF was re-arraigned alongside an Abuja-based businessman, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
THISDAY gathered that the re-arraignment was necessitated by a petition by the anti-graft against the first trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako.
It was gathered that following the petition, the Chief Judge of the court, Justice John Tsoho, re-assigned the case to Justice Inyang Ekwo.
The case marked, FHC/ABJ/CR/39/2017, contained seven counts, with six of them relating Adoke.
The two defendants were earlier arraigned on February 8, 2020, before Justice Binta Nyako, but the case was later transferred to Justice Ekwo.
The transfer of the case to Justice Ekwo necessitated the re-arraignment yesterday.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges again when they were read to them.
EFCC alleged in the charges that they committed the money laundering offences involving over N400million in Abuja in September 2013.
In the counts concerning Adoke, he was accused of among others, receiving the dollar equivalent of N300million from Abubakar, paying the dollar equivalent of N367,318,800 to one Usman Mohammed Bello, and allegedly using the sum of N300million, which was alleged to be part of the proceeds of unlawful activities, all in violations of various provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
Adoke was also accused of making “structured cash payments, in 22 tranches” amounting to N80million, another of such structured payments in 13 tranches summing up to N50million into his Unity Bank account.
The commission alleged that the funds were not only part of the proceeds of unlawful acts but they also exceeded “thresholds outside a financial institution” and that the payments were done with the intention of concealing the origins of the funds contrary to section 15(2(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same law.
The only count concerning Abubakar was that he allegedly made the payment of dollar equivalent of N300million to Adoke’s account in violation of the money laundering law.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Adoke’s lawyer, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), and Abubakar’s lawyer, Mr. Akin Olujinmi (SAN), urged the court to allow their defendants to continue to enjoy the bail already granted them by the previous judge.
EFCC’s lawyer, Bala Sanga, did not oppose the request.
He said he had five prosecution witnesses to call in the case.
The judge adjourned till August 3 for trial.