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EFCC Charges Ex-Minister Of Defence, Son With Laundering N300m

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday charged a former Minister of Defence, Alhaji Bello Mohammed, and his son, Abba Mohammed, at Federal High Court, Abuja, with laundering N300 million.
Mohammed was also a former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that BAM Project and Properties Ltd is listed as the other defendant.
The suspects are facing a four-count charge.
The prosecution said the defendants on March 17, 2015, under the jurisdiction of the court, took possession of N300 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
It said Mohammed and his son ought to have known that the fund formed part of proceeds of an unlawful activity of the former NSA, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki.
Dasuki is currently standing trial for alleged misappropriation of 2.1 billion dollars meant for the purchase of arms for the military.
The prosecution said the ex-minister and his son committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Act of 2011 as amended in 2012.
It further held that the crime was punishable under Section 15 (3) of the law, which carries 14 years jail term for a convict.
The prosecution accused the suspects of receiving the fund through a transfer from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser for political campaigns, among others.
However, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
Mr Abdulazeez Ibrahim and Mr Ogala Osoka, counsel to the ex-minister and his son respectively filed bail applications for them.
They urged the court to grant their clients bail on the grounds of ill health and personal recognition for the ex-minister, in particular.
According to them, the accused persons will not jump bail and are prepared to clear their names from the charges.
The counsel to the defendants also argued that the alleged offences were bailable.
Opposing the applications, Mr Aliyu Yusuf, the prosecution counsel, said the applicants failed to depose to how their remand in prison would aggravate their illnesses.
According to him, the clinic in the Kuje Prison is equipped enough to handle any health situation.
He said the gravity of the penalty attached to the offence could spur them to jump bail.
“They also have the capacity to interfere with further investigation into the matter and therefore must be kept away from the regular society pending the determination of the case,’’ he said.
The presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, reserved ruling on the applications till Thursday.
The judge said: “Meanwhile, the first accused person (Abba Mohammed) is to be remanded in the Kuje Prison while the second accused person (Bello Mohamed) is granted the permission to return to the Abuja Clinic on admission.
“I, therefore, hand his custody while in the Abuja Clinic to the Inspector-General of Police.’’
NAN reports that the ex-minister is currently recuperating in the hospital from a surgery he had in the UK. (NAN)

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