A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday remanded an associate of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Mr. Abiodun Agbele, in Kuje Prison, Abuja, till Thursday when it would deliver ruling on his application for bail.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba made the order of remand after Agbele was arraigned on 11 counts of money laundering involving N1,219,000,000 said to be part of N4,685,723,000 allegedly transferred unlawfully from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Arraigned along with Agbele were three companies, Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, De Privateer Limited and Spotless Investment Limited.
Agbele is said to be the Managing Director of De Privateer Limited and a former Director, Finance and Account of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission.
The prosecution stated that Agbele and other suspects said to be at large used the companies (named as accused persons) to disburse the funds which were allegedly released fraudulently by the then National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
The prosecution stated in two of the counts that those with whom Agbele allegedly committed some of the crimes were at large.
The suspects on the run according to the EFCC, are a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro; Lt. A. O. Adewale; and Olalekan Ogunseye, said to be a sole signatory to the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.
The prosecution stated that the accused persons did retain, transfer and convert part of the proceeds of the funds for their personal use, when they “reasonably ought to have known” that they were part of proceeds of Dasuki’s unlawful activity.”
All the 11 counts preferred against the accused were said to be contrary to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended in 2012).
The offences were said to be punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
Agbele pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read to him on Wednesday.
In the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CR/154/154/2016, the EFCC alleged that between April 4, 2014 and November 13, 2014, Agebele, Obanikoro and other suspects at large conspired among themselves to “commit illegal act of laundering the sum of N4,685,723,000,000 being the sum transferred from the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria by Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) (the then NSA).”
The EFCC alleged that the accused knew the N4,685,723,000,000 formed part of the proceeds of Dasuki’s unlawful activity.
In Count 2, Agbele, Obanikoro and the rest of the suspects said to be at large allegedly on June 17, 2014, allegedly “directly took possession or control” of the sum of N1,219,000,000, being part of N4,685,723,000,000, when they “reasonably ought to have known” that it was part of proceeds of Dasuki’s unlawful activity.”
In Count 3, the EFCC alleged that on June 17, 2014 Agbele “did transfer” the sum of N100m into the account number 1010170969 belonging to Spotless Investment Limited and domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc, when he “reasonably ought to have known” that it was part of proceeds of Dasuki’s unlawful activity.
In Count 4, the EFCC alleged that on June 17, 2014 Agbele and Spotless Limited “did retain” the sum of N100m.
In Count 5, the EFCC alleged that on June 17, 2014, Agbele “did retain” the sum of N219,490,000, in the Zenith Bank account of De Privateer Limited.
In Counts 6 and 7, Agbele, while being the Managing Director of De Privateer Limited, allegedly retained the sum of N300m and N200m in the De Privateer Limited’s account, on June 19 and June 23, respectively.
In Count 8, Agbele allegedly “did retain” the sum of N137m in Fayose’s Zenith Bank, Akure branch account number 1003126654.
After the arraignment on Wednesday, Agbele’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), moved his client’s bail application, urging the judge to grant it in liberal terms.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Johnson Ojogbane, urged the court to dismiss the application.
Ojogbane urged the court to remand the accused person in prison throughout the period of the trial and instead of granting him bail, the judge should rather grant an order of accelerated hearing.
Justice Dimgba fixed Thursday for ruling on the bail application.