Armsgate: AVM Omenyi Received N136m Bribe from NAF Contractors' Says Witness
Armsgate: AVM Omenyi Received N136m Bribe from NAF Contractors' Says Witness...... EFCC arraigns former NBC DG in Court
A witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, told the Federal High Court Abuja presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, if how a former Managing Director of Aeronautical
Engineering and Technical Services Limited (AETSL), a company owned by the Nigeria Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Tony Omenyi received over one hundred and thirty six million Naira kick back from Syrius Technologies and SkyExperts Limited - two contractors of the Nigeria Air Force.
According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, "Omenyi is standing trial before the court on a 3-count charge bordering on abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N136.325.000.00 (one hundred and thirty six million, three hundred and twenty five thousand naira). He pleaded not guilty to the charge."
At the trial, the EFCC called its first witness (PW1) Hassan Saidu, an EFCC Principal Detective, who was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, M.S. Abubakar.
Saidu told the court that the investigation of the defendants by the EFCC was triggered by a letter from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) dated 9th December, 2015 alleging that the defendant was operating suspicious accounts.
The prosecutor later sought to tender the letter in Evidence, the defendant’s counsel, Gordy Uche, SAN objected on the grounds that the letter was supposed to have been certified by the ONSA and not by EFCC.
To that end, Abubakar countered the argument by citing Section 104(I) of the Evidence Act, 2011 which states that it is the public officer in custody of a document that should certify it. Thus, in the case at hand the EFCC was the proper agency to certify the document. The court agreed with the argument of the prosecution and admitted the document in evidence.
Saidu stated that “in January, 2014 the contractors were paid the sum of over N202 million and they in turn paid the sum of N24.8 million to the defendant’s company. While in April, 2014 the contractors were paid the sum of about N690 million and transferred the sum of N61.5 million out of it to the defendant’s company, HUZEE Nigeria Limited.
Meanwhile, on 18th November, 2014 the contractor paid the sum of N50 Million to Air Vice Marshal Omenyi’s company after receiving about N556 million from the Nigerian Air Force”. The case has been adjourned to 16 February, 2017 for continuation of trial.
Also, the EFCC, on Tuesday, arraigned a former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Emeka Mba alongside three others before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on a 15-count charge of money laundering and procurement
fraud to the tune of N2.8billion.
Mba was arraigned alongside a former director of finance, NBC, Patrick Areh; Basil Udotai (trading in the name and style of Technology Adviser) and Babatunji Amure (trading in name and style of Divine Partners).
Uwugaren said: "They were alleged to have at various times connived and transferred a sum of N2,899,723,500 from the account of NBC through various proxies for their personal gains.
"Mba was also alleged to have used his office as NBC DG to award contracts without following due procurement process. Shortly before the defendants took their plea, counsel to the fourth defendant, E. C Ami asked the court for a short adjournment to enable him respond to the counter affidavit
filed to the by the prosecution.
“My Lord we filed a bail application since 25th of December and we were just served with a weighty response, therefore we urge the court to give us a short adjournment to enable us reply”, Ami urged.
Counsel to EFCC, Ben S. Ikani said that the defence should rather be concerned with the court granting the defendants bail on such conditions that will enable them attend trial.
Justice Kolawole after listening to both counsel, said that there is no need to speculate on the court proceedings since the judicial process requires the defendants to take their plea before there can be hearing on bail application.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Emeka Mba (while being the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission), Patrick Areh (while being the Director, Finance and Account of the National Broadcasting Commission), Basil Udotai (trading in the name and style of Technology Advisors) and Babatunji Amure (trading in the name and style of Divine Partners) on or about the 15th day of August, 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an illegal act to wit: laundering the sum of N2,899,723,500.00 (two billion, eight hundred and ninety nine million, seven hundred and twenty three thousand, five hundred Naira) and thereby committed an offence
contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them. In view of their pleas, Ikani expressed readiness to commence trial immediately. Mba’s counsel, S. I. Ahmed, moved a motion for bail of his client, but could not go far when the judge suggested that rather than wasting the time of the court on arguments, counsel to all parties should take an hour break to go agree on terms of the bail.
At the sitting after the break, the parties agreed that the defendants should continue with the administrative bail earlier granted them by the EFCC.
Ikani, however, noted that the conditions of the administrative bail had no
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