The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on Monday, arraigned a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nicholas Mutu Ebomo, for alleged fraud.
He was arraigned alongside Airworld Technologies Limited, Oyien Homes Limited, and one Blessing Mutu (now at large) before Justice F. O. G. Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on 11-count charge for alleged fraud and abuse of office.
One of the charges reads: “That you, Hon. Nicholas Mutu Ebomo (m) whilst being the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission, between August 2014 and August 2016 in Abuja, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did procure Airworld Technologies Limited to conceal of the sum of N320,159,689.63 to be paid by Starline Consultancy Services Limited when you reasonably ought to have known that the said sum of N320,159,689.63 formed part of proceeds of corruption, gratification and fraudulent acquisition of property and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(c) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended by Act No. 1 of (2012) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The defence counsel, P. I. N. Nikwueto (SAN), applied for bail on his client’s behalf.
But the prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, opposed the bail application.
He also asked the court to pick a trial date, and for the defendant to be remanded in prison.
He said: “My lord we cannot take the risk we took in 2018 when we granted him bail. He was released in the name of one Anthony John Ikpoyi (SAN).
“From that day till date, the defendant dishonoured the terms and conditions of bail, and never showed up in the EFCC office. So many efforts were made including arresting the sureties, yet he refused to show up.
“Even the record of the court shows that the matter came up on three different times, but it couldn’t go on because they couldn’t produce the first defendant.
“So, my lord, his coming today to court is not voluntarily, but because of fear that arrest warrant is to be issued against him.”
In his ruling on the bail application, Justice Ogunbanjo granted the defendant a temporary freedom.
The judge said he took judicial notice of the administrative bail earlier granted to Ebomo by the Commission.
He later adjourned the case till February 25, March 4 and 5, April 22 and 28, and May 5 and 6 for trial.
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