The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State and presided over by Honourable Justice Marcel Awokulehin, that a former Nasarawa state governor, Aliyu Akwe Doma and six others standing trial on a 17 count criminal charge of laundering state funds totaling over N15 billion, have a case to answer and that their applications seeking to quash the case before the court lacked merit and should be struck out.
The other accused persons are Senator John Dangoyi, Abdulmumin Jibrin, Timothy Anthony Anjide, Dauda Egwa, Suleiman Ibrahim, Broworks Ltd and Green Forest Investment Ltd.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday May 21st, 2012, Prosecution counsel, Dele Adesina, SAN who stood in for Kemi Pinhiero, SAN told the court that EFCC was opposing eight applications brought in by Doma and six other co-accused persons seeking to quash the case against them. Counsel to all the accused persons excluding the 4thand 8th accused persons, S.I Ameh, SAN, had earlier moved a motion to quash the charges preferred against them. Also, Counsel to Doma and Abdulmumin Jibrin, Charles Edosonwan, SAN, had prayed the court to discharge the accused persons on the grounds that prosecution did not disclose the element of crime in the charge. “This is a criminal proceeding that ought not to proceed,” he stated. He said the case was an attempt to criminalize government and that the trial was instituted because they once held government positions.
However, EFCC Counsel argued that the accused persons’ counsel should have brought the application to quash the case before their plea was taken. He said that the case of Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. James Onanefe Ibori cited by the defense counsel was different from the case before the court. “My lord, Ibori’s case which is one of the authorities they are relying on is quite different from the case before your lordship because in that case, Ibori had not taken any plea unlike here where they had pleaded not guilty to the charges before you.”
He said that by taking their plea, they have joined issues with the prosecution and have actually challenged the prosecution to prove the case for which they have been charged. As to whether the charges are vague and ambiguous, Pinhiero urged the court to look at its record which showed that the accused persons having pleaded not guilty to the charges cannot go round to say the charges they listened to is now vague and ambiguous.
“Besides, the proof of evidence are clear that all the accused persons according to charge number 8 have flouted Section 14 (1) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 as their action clearly shows elements of conversion and concealing,” Pinhiero stated.
He went on to disclose how the statements of some of the accused persons namely the 2nd and 5th showed their connectivity with 15% of $89.5m contract that was awarded to Incapint Nigeria Limited. The said percentage, totalling over N1.5 billion according to the prosecution, was raised in the name of the 5th accused person through a UBA Manager Cheque and supposed to have been paid to Incapint Nigeria Limited but was paid to a Unity Bank account belonging to the 7th accused person.
In separate statements, both of them acknowledged receiving monies as part of the deal. While the 2nd accused person Senator John Dangoyi confirms a “15% Largesse to Incapint Nigeria Limited,” the 5th accused Dauda Egwa admitted he received what he said was; “My share of One Hundred and Thirty Million Naira (N130 million) which was paid to me in two Cheques of N110 million and N10 million respectively.”
The judge, after ruling that Doma and his co-accused persons have a case to answer, adjourned the case till June 11th, 2012