The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, filed additional seven count charges against a former Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke over alleged money laundering involving about N400 million.
The trial of the ex-AGF, who was re-arraigned alongside an Abuja-based businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 17 was expected to begin on Monday but was stalled due to the amended charges.
The initial charge contained seven counts, with six of them relating to Adoke. At the resumed trial, the Prosecutor, Bala Sanga informed the court of an amended charge that he filed on July 29 which was served on all the defendants. The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, who frowned at the late filing of the amended charge, adjourned till August 4 on the ground that he is yet to sight the amended charges.
“From June 17 to July 17, you did nothing. That means you had one month and you did not file the amended charge. Just a few days to the trial, you filed an amended charge. A few days to when trial is to commence.
“Although you have freedom to amend your charge up to the time of judgment, I do not appreciate a situation where things are not done on time. This is a 2017 matter and I was thinking I could fast track it but now the prosecution has come up with an amendment,” he stated.
In the former seven count charge, the EFCC alleged that the defendants committed the offences in Abuja in September 2013. In the counts relating to Adoke, he was accused of receiving the dollar equivalent of N300 million from Abubakar, paying the dollar equivalent of N367,318,800 to one Usman Mohammed Bello, and allegedly using N300 million, which was part of the proceeds of unlawful activities, all in violations of various provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
The former AGF was also accused of making “structured cash payments, in 22 tranches” amounting to N80 million, l of such structured payments in 13 tranches summing up to N50 million into his Unity Bank account. The commission alleged that the funds were not only part of the proceeds of unlawful acts but they also exceeded “thresholds outside a financial institution” and that the payments were done with the intention of concealing the origins of the funds contrary to Section 15(2(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same law.