Saraki’s ex-aide remanded in prison custody for N3.5bn scam

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the remand of Gbenga Makanjuola, former Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in prison custody alongside Obiora Amobi and Kolawole Shittu, a cashier in the Senate President’s office.

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Justice Babs Kuewumi gave the order to remand the trio till October 9 after taking the defendants’ pleas in an 11-count criminal charge bothering on the Paris Club refund fraud preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

During their arraignment,  EFCC’s prosecutor, Mr. Ekene Iheanacho, said the three defendants, a limited company, Melrose General Services Limited, and one Robert Mbonu now at large, had sometime in December 2016, conspired among themselves to disguise the origin of N3.5 billion, which was paid into Melrose General Services Limited account.

The anti-graft agency also told the court that the third defendant, Amobi, who was the Operations Manager of Melrose General Services between December 15 and 17, 2016, made a cash payment of N300 million to Robert Mbonu (now at large) from the said N3.5 billion, without going through financial institution.

EFCC further alleged that the former Deputy Chief of Staff to Saraki, Makanjuola, and the cashier in the Senate President’s office, Kolawole Shittu, in December 2016, paid $500,000 thrice, between themselves without going through a financial institution. According to Iheanacho, the offences committed are contrary to Sections 18, 15(2) (d),15 (2) (b) 1(a) and 16(2)(b) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, and punishable under Sections 15 (3) and 16 (2) (b) of the same Act, but the defendants pleaded not guilty.

 

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