The trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over a N9.4 billion fraud may gradually be scuttled going by her secret plot with the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
SaharaReporters learnt that the trial of Oduah which was supposed to proceed on February 22 could not proceed because the co-defendants with the minister failed to appear before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The judge had given the prosecution additional weeks and slated April 19.
It was gathered that Oduah, who is presently the Senator representing Anambra North in the National Assembly, has met with Lawan and Malami to douse her case with the EFCC.
“February 22 has passed but she was not arraigned. April 19 has also passed because of the industrial action of judiciary workers. She is working very hard using the Senate President and AGF to either scuttle arraignment or frustrate the trial. Alternatively, they are planning to water down the trial through the prosecution via the EFCC chairman.
“February 22 has passed but she was not arraigned. April 19 has also passed. She is working very hard, using the Senate President and AGF to either scuttle arraignment or frustrate the trial. Alternatively, they are planning to water down the trial through the prosecution via the EFCC chairman.
“Another way is through the prosecutor, Dr Hassan Liman, a close friend of Lawan and the AGF,” a source revealed to SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters had reported on February 22 that the EFCC had earlier planned to re-arraign Oduah over an alleged fraud to the tune of over N9.4 billion on that same day but her co-defendants failed to show up in court as part of the plot.
Odua was scheduled to be arraigned on a 25 counts of money laundering alongside Gloria Odita, Nwobu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Limited, Crystal Television Limited, Sobora International Limited and the China Civil Engineering Construction Company Limited.
One of the counts in the charge reads, “That you, Stella Adaeze Oduah, whilst being the Minister of Aviation, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Gloria Odita whilst being the Company Secretary to Sea Petroleum & Gas Company Ltd (SPGC), and an aide to the former Minister of Aviation on or about the 12th day of February, 2014 at Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court used your positions to transfer the sum of N1, 629,250,000 from 1-Sec Security Nig. Ltd account No. 2021756955 with First Bank Plc to Global Offshore and Marine Ltd account No. 2022977296 also domiciled with First Bank Plc, which money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (6) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
When the case was mentioned, the prosecuting counsel, Dr Hassan Liman, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, informed the court that the commission tried every means possible but was unable to serve the fifth and sixth defendants with the court processes.
He therefore applied for an additional 14 days to serve them.
Justice Ekwo granted his prayer and adjourned till April 19, 2021, for arraignment.
SaharaReporters had on February 9 reported that Oduah would be arraigned for alleged financial impropriety totalling more than N9.4 billion fraud.
SaharaReporters had in September 2017 uncovered how Oduah bought a $1.2 million home in London, disguising it in the robes of a foreign-registered company in an effort to avoid detection.
The transaction, which had been kept secret, was blown open when Mrs. Oduah decided to rent out the house and engage the services of an estate company.
SaharaReporters had also reported in February 2018 that the EFCC had commenced investigation of Oduah, over her involvement in the N9.4 billion contract for supply of security equipment to 22 airports across the country.