The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will on December 7 arraign a former Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla, and eight others before the Federal High Court in Abuja on money laundering charges involving diversion of N2bn from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The defendants were to be arraigned before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Tuesday but the arraignment was re-scheduled to December 7 due to the absence of the judge, who was said to be attending a training organised for some judges in the country.
While Otunla was absent from court on Tuesday, one of his co-defendants, Ade Adelakun, was present.
The rest of the six defendants are companies said to have benefited from the N2bn withdrawn from the ONSA account with the Central Bank of Nigeria
The companies named as co-defendants are Gold Reef Industries Limited, Lambster Nigeria Limited, G.C Electronic Limited, Sinmilak Nigeria Limited, Wehsac Farms Limited, Shepherded Field Global Resources Limited and Stellavera Development Company Limited.
The EFCC, in the five counts marked FHC/ABJ/CR/174/2017 filed on October 11, 2017, accused the defendants of transferring the sum of N2bn from ONSA account with the Central Bank of Nigeria between June and August 2013.
The anti-corruption agency alleged that the defendants withdrew the money from ONSA account purportedly for the supply of security equipment.
It was alleged in the charges signed by the EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, that the sum of N2bn was transferred from the ONSA account and disbursed into the accounts of several other companies, including one to which Adelakun is allegedly a signatory.
The EFCC also disclosed in the charges that a former Director, Special Duties in ONSA, and a signatory to the accounts of Helpline Organisation, Col. Bello Fadile, who was said to be at large, was also a beneficiary of the part of the proceeds of the alleged crime.
The anti-corruption agency also alleged that the funds formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of the then NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Some of the offences were said to be contrary to section 15(2) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 15 (3) and (4) of the same Act.
The charges read in part, “That you, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, being the former Accountant General of the Federation and a director and signatory to Ecobank account of Wehsac Farms Ltd; Otunba Ade Adelakun being the managing director/chief executive officer and a signatory to the accounts of Gold Reef Industries Limited – Fidelity Bank; Lambster Nigeria Limited – Zenith Bank; G.C. Electronics Limited – GTB; and Sinmilak Nigeria Limited – Fidelity Bank; Col. Bello Fadile (now at large, being the former director, Special Duties in the Office of the National Security Adviser and also a director and signatory to the accounts of Helpline Organisation – Diamond Bank; and Justice and Peace Consultants – GTB, sometime between June and August 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired to commit an illegal act, to wit: money laundering of the sum of N2,000,000,000:00 (two billion naira) transferred from the account of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria to the accounts of Gold Reef Industries Limited with Fidelity Bank account no 4010112969; Lambster Nigeria Limited with Zenith Bank Plc account no 1011813502; G.C. Electronic Limited with GTB Plc account no: 0024330333 and Sinmilak Nigeria Limited with Fidelity Bank Plc account no: 4010160616 purporting to be for supply at security equipment and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) and (4) of the some Act.”