Former Minister of Aviation and serving senator, Stella Oduah, has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Oduah, who represents Anambra North, was received into the fold of the ruling party at a brief ceremony held in Abuja on Thursday.
Mai Mala Buni, the National Chairman of the APC caretaker committee; Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy senate president; Atiku Bagudu, chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), and Hope Uzodimma, Imo governor, were present at the event.
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported in April that Oduah’s trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over a N9.4billion 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 had learnt that the trial of Oduah which was supposed to go on in 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, but the case of the former minister again did not come up on Monday as scheduled.
It was gathered that Oduah 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. She is working very hard using 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 had revealed to SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters had reported on February 22 that the EFCC had earlier planned to re-arraign Oduah over fraud totalling over N9.4billion 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-count charge 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 N9.4billion fraud.
SaharaReporters had in September 2017 uncovered how Oduah bought a $1.2million 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 engaged the services of a shady real estate company, Daniel Ford and Company Ltd, for that purpose.
SaharaReporters had also reported in February 2018 that the EFCC had commenced investigation of Oduah, over her involvement in the N9.4billion contract for supply of security equipment to 22 airports across the country.