The President Muhammadu Buhari administration has continued in its strong war against corruption with some top officials in the aviation sector arraigned in court for sharp practices.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was on Thursday arraigned Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Managing Director/Chief Executive Ibrahim Abdulsalam at the Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly stealing N2.8billion, according to the Nation.
He was charged along with Nnamdi Udoh (still at large), Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Agbolade Segun, Clara Aliche, Joy Ayodele Adegorite, Randville Invesment Ltd and Multeng Travels and Tours Ltd before Justice Babs Kuewumi on 21 counts charge.
EFCC said on August 19, 2013, the defendants, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst themselves to induce NAMA to deliver the sum of N2,847,523,975.00 to Delosa Ltd, Air Sea Delivery Ltd and Sea Schedules Systems Ltd under the pretense that the money represented the cost of clearing NAMA’s consignments.
The alleged offence is contrary to section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3).
The prosecution said the defendants conspired to deliver various amounts to Delosa Limited on different dates under the pretence that they were payment for clearing NAMA’s consignment.
EFCC said they paid the firm N274,021,452.00 between January 31 and April 15, 2013; and between August 19 and December 31, 2013, they paid it N151,136,320.
The defendants also paid the firm N403,485,057.70 between January 15 and December 17, 2014, as well as N285,906,834.10 between January 14 and September 16, 2015, the prosecution alleged.
EFCC said the defendants induced NAMA to pay Air Sea Delivery Ltd the sum of N409,010,344.70 under the pretense it represented the cost of clearing NAMA’s goods. EFCC said they also paid Air Sea N230, 585,636.20 between January 14 and September 16.
According to the agency, another company, Sea Schedules System Ltd, got N227, 634,567.20 between September 11 and December 15, 2014 under the pretence that it cleared NAMA’s consignments, and between January 14 and September 3, the defendants paid Sea Schedulesthe sum of N314,378,212.80.
The defendants were accused of conspiring amongst themselves on January 2, 2013 to convert N858,507, 609.56, property of NAMA, which was derived from stealing, contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
Between January 2 and December 17, 2013, the defendants allegedly converted N191,616,651.56 belonging to NAMA to themselves.
EFCC said they allegedly converted N728,870,158 between 2013 and 2015.
Count 13 reads: “That you, Ibrahim Abdulsalam, Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Agbolade Segun, Clara Aliche, Joy Ayodele Adegorite, Randville Invesment Ltd And Multeng Travels And Tours Ltd, between the 1st day of January and the 30th day of December, 2015 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of the sum of N336,803,308 property of NAMA, which sum was derived from stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts. Their lawyers, who said they had filed bail applications, prayed the court to remand the suspects in EFCC’s custody where they had been held since February 12.
But EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo, who said he needed to respond to the motions for bail, urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody.
“EFCC’s detention facilities are overstretched. Arrests are being made everyday. EFCC cannot afford to keep more detainees,” he said.
The commission listed an initial 20 witnesses, including representatives of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Skye Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and First Bank Plc, who will tesfify during the trial.
Justice Kuewumi adjourned until April 12 for commencement of trial.