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Alleged 3.5bn fraud: court grants saraki’s aide, others N250m bail each

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A Federal high Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday granted N250m each bail to Gbenga Makanjuola, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, and three others, who are being prosecuted for a N3.5bn fraud.

Makanjuola is facing trial alongside Kolawole Shittu, cashier to the Senate President; Robert Chidozie Mbonu, a former Managing Director, Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, SGBN (who is still at large),  Melrose General Services Limited and Obiora Amobi, Operation Manager,  Melrose General Services Limited.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

This was disclosed by the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujiaren in a statement on tuesday.

Justice Babs O. Kuewumi in his ruling granted the defendants bail in the sum of N250 million bail bonds each, with two sureties in like sums.

The judge demanded that the sureties must be resident in Lagos and must have landed properties with Certificate of Occupancy, CoO, within the Lagos metropolis, and must show evidence of tax payments and letters of identification from their banks.

Justice Kuewumi remanded the defendants in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail conditions and adjourned till December 4, 2018 for commencement of trial.”

The statement explained that the amended 11-count charge against the defendants  bordered on alleged conspiracy, accepting cash payment beyond threshold and money laundering to the tune of N3.5billion.

The statement read “that you, Gbenga Makanjuola, sometime in December 2016 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of the sum of $500, 000. 00 (Five Hundred Thousand Dollars Only) from   Kolawole Shittu without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.”

“Another count reads: That you, Robert Chidozie Mbonu ( now at large) and Melrose General Services Limited between the 14th day of December , 2016 and January, 2017 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took control of the sum of N3, 500,000,000.00( Three Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira Only) transferred from the Nigerian Governors’ Forum’s account into Access Bank Plc account number 0005892453 by Melrose General Services Limited, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund represented the proceeds of  lawful activities to wit-conspiracy, stealing and fraud-and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (9) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act, 2011( as amended by the Act No.1, 2012) and punishable under Section 15( 3) of the same Act.”

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