Court sends Saraki’s aide to jail over N3.5bn fraud

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A Lagos Federal High Court on Wednesday remanded an aide to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Gbenga Makanjuola in prison over alleged N3.5bn fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had arraigned Makanjuola alongside a firm, Melrose General Services Limited; and one Obiorah Amobi before the Justice Babs Kuewumi-led court.

EFCC arraigned the accused persons on an 11 count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.

In the charges, the anti-graft agency claimed that they committed the offence sometime in December 2016 in connivance with one Robert Mbonu, who is currently at large.

EFCC claimed that the accused persons, “took control of N3.5bn that was transferred from the Nigeria Governors Forum’s account into an Access Bank Plc account number 0005892453, operated by Melrose General Services Limited.”

The Commission said the suspects, “reasonably ought to have known that the said fund represented the proceeds of unlawful activities, to wit, conspiracy, stealing and fraud.”

Addressing the court, the prosecuting counsel for EFCC, Mr. Ekene Iheanacho, said the actions of the defendants was contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and are punishable under Section 15 (3)of the same Act.

When the charges were read, the accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty.

Despite their not-guilty plea, the trial judge ordered that they be remanded in prison custody till October 9, when he would rule on their bail applications.

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