Money Laundering: Court Acquits Former AGF Adoke

Alex Enumah in Abuja 

Justice Inyang Ekwo of a  Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, discharged and acquitted former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, of money laundering charge filed against him by the federal government.

Justice Ekwo freed the former AGF from the charge shortly after ruling that the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to prove his allegations.

Adoke and an oil magnate, Aliyu Abubakar were first arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako in February 2020 and then Justice Ekwo on June 17, 2020 on a seven-count criminal charge.

Although the prosecution had amended the charge to 14, then to 10, the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charge and also filed a “no-case submission”, after the anti-graft agency had closed its case.

Ruling in the no-case submission on Friday, Ekwo held that the EFCC through documentary and oral evidence was unable to establish a prima facie case against Adoke.

The judge who held that the evidence of the prosecution were manifestly unreliable, consequently upheld Adoke’s no-case submission.

He, therefore, declared Adoke discharged and acquitted of the money laundering charge.

However, Adoke’s co-defendant was not as lucky as the judge held that the anti-graft agency had established a prima facie case against him in counts five, six, eight and nine of the charge preferred against him.

The court however, freed him on counts one, seven and 10.

Meanwhile, Justice Ekwo adjourned until April 22, 23 and 24 for Abubakar to open his defence.

In the amended charge, Adoke was accused of collecting the sum of N300 million from Alhaji Abubakar as alleged proceeds of unlawful activities in 2013, while in the same year, he was said to have collected another sum of $2.2 million from one Rislanudeen Muhammed.

He was also accused of disguising a sum of N300 million being proceeds of unlawful activities he accepted from the second defendant.

The federal government also alleged that Adoke illegally paid the sum of N50 million in 13 tranches and another N80 million in 22 tranches into his personal account with Unity Bank in contravention of the nation’s financial regulations.

In another charge, Adoke was said to have paid the sum of N367 million, also in contravention of the financial regulations.

Adoke was further accused of disguising the sources of the amounts deposited in his Unity Bank, an act contrary to the financial law.

On the other hand, the second defendant, Abubakar, was said to have in September 2013 received cash payment of $2 million and another $4 million from one Abdulkareem Mustapha, while in September and October same year, he was alleged to have collected another sum $84.7 million.

In another charge, the second defendant was accused of receiving $3 million and concealing the source of same.

In another charge, the complainant was accused to have received $12 million being proceeds of alleged unlawful act.

Abubakar was also alleged to have made the sum of N300 million cash payment to Adoke in contravention of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

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