Again, the arraignment of former Accountant-General of the Federation Jonah Otunla, and eight others over alleged money laundering charges involving diversion of N2bn from the account of the Office of the National Security, was stalled, Monday, due to the absence of Otunla in court
When the matter resumed at a Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, counsel to Otunla, Ahmed Raji, said his client was not in court because he travelled to the United States to care for his ill health
He therefore pleaded for adjournment to enable him bring Otunla to court to face his trial.
The prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, though complained that the arraignment was unnecessarily being delayed by the defendant, he, however, did not oppose the application for adjournment.
The court then adjourned till February 27 for arraignment.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in the five counts filed before the court, on October 11, 2017, accused Otunla and the other 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 purported for the supply of security equipment.
The anti-corruption agency also alleged that the fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of the then NSA, under Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
It was alleged in the charges signed by EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, that the sum of N2bn was transferred from ONSA account and disbursed into the accounts of several other companies, including one to which one Otunba Adelakun is 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.
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 some Act.
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.