The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, arraigned four persons, including Colonel Nicholas Ashinze, a former special assistant to the ex-National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki; before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Federal High Court, Abuja on a 13-count charge of corruption and money laundering to the tune of N36.8 billion.
Also accused with Ashinze are: Wolfgang Reinl, an Austrian; Edidiong Idiong and Sagir D. Mohammed, alongside five companies accused of allegedly diverting huge sums from the office of the former NSA.
The companies are: Geonel Integrated Services Limited, Unity Continental Nigeria Limited, Helpline Organization, Vibrant Resource Limited and Sologic Integrated Services Limited.
The accused allegedly transferred N550 million to Edidiong Idiong, a lawyer of Law Partners & Associates, around April 22, 2014 in Abuja, aware that the money was part of the proceeds of ‘corruption.’
They were accused of committing “an offense contrary to Section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) and (4) of the same Money Laundering (Prohibition), Act 2011 (as amended).”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them.
While counsel to EFCC, I. O Uket expressed readiness to commence trial immediately, Ashinze’s counsel, Ernest Nwoye told the court that he had a pending application for the bail of his client.
He, just like Counsels to the other defendants urged the court to grant them bail on self recognizance having earlier been admitted to bail by an FCT High Court, a move that was challenged by Uket
Ruling on the applications, Justice Kolawole held that the charges are all bailable adding that, “since each of the defendants has been on one administrative bail or the other, my sixth judicial sense informs me that I adopt the terms and conditions of the bail granted to the defendants by the EFCC and my learned brothers in the FCT High Courts.
The judge promised accelerated hearing, following which the case was adjourned to January 23, February 1 and14; and March 7 and 21, 2017.