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Money Laundering: Court Adjourns Prison Accountant Trial To June 10

Xavier Ndanyongmong

The trial of Imaobong Akon Esu- Nte, an accountant with the Nigeria Prisons Service, who is being prosecuted alongside two others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on charges bordering on conspiracy, forgery, abuse of office and money laundering, before Justice E. S Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja has been adjourned till June 10.

At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday Esu-Nte’s counsel, Titus Ashaolu, SAN, brought an application, seeking to quash the charges preferred against the accused. Ashaolu argued that, “the charges and proof of evidence does not disclose a prima facie case against the accused.”

He told the court that, the accused person was also standing trial on a similar charge before another court adding that, the charge brought against the accused person before Justice Chukwu amounted to an abuse of court process.

However, counsel to EFCC, L. P Aso, countered, saying, “the charge before the court is regular and proper as it was in compliance with the laws and the rules of the court”.

He stressed that the court remained a court of summary trial, arguing that there was proof of evidence before the court, to make the case go on.

“The trial has started and any objection should have come before the trial began and not when the hearing has gone midway,” Aso further argued. The prosecuting counsel told the court that, the charges in both courts are different, saying that, the case before Justice Chukwu was on money laundering, which only the Federal High Court can attend to.

Counsel to the third accused person, Oladele Bello, in his application, asked the court to strike out the name of his client (Transferase Ventures) from charge 1, 6 and 7 as it was not a corporate personality, but a business name. “It is not a limited liability company and so it cannot be charged,” Bello said.

The counts were thereafter struck out by the judge as there was no objection by the prosecution. Justice Chukwu has adjourned the case to June 10, 2015 for further hearing.

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