N1.9bn Scam: EFCC Re-arraigns Chidi Adabanya & 11 Others

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today November 17, re-arraigned Chidi David Adabanya and 11 others before Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court Abuja on a 22-count charge bordering on money laundering.

Adabanya a former employee of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, along with some officials of the Bayelsa State Government allegedly obtained the sum of N1.9billion through a phony consultancy contract in the SPDC Gbaran- Ubie project in Bayelsa State.  The other accused persons are Forstech Technical Nigeria Limited, Gastroil Ventures Limited, Uzoma Ibe, Andrew Feyaikebena Ebakpa, Kwokwo Ebiki Bina, Benneth Ezekiel-Hart, Bolouwenimo Kwokwo, Presley Ebakpa, Bikyiis Integrated Services Limited, Fun-Ala Nigeria Limited and Fambo Integrated Services Limited.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.

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Count one of the charge reads: “that you Chidi David Adabanya, Forstech Technical Nigeria Limited, Gastoil Ventures Limited, Uzoma Ibe, Andrew Feyaikebena Ebakpa, Kwokwo Ebiki Bina, Benneth Ezekiel Hart, Bolouwenimo Kwokwo, Presley Ebakpa, Bikyiis Integrated Services Limited and Fambo Integrated Services Limited between February 2009 and September 2010 in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court conspired among yourselves to do an illegal act to wit: money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.”

Another count reads:
“that you Chidi David Adabanya and Forstech Technical Nigeria Limited between April 2010 and July 2010 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court transferred the total sum of N927,191,277,98 (nine hundred and twenty seven million, one hundred and ninety one thousand, two hundred and seventy seven naira, ninety eight kobo) being property derived from an illegal act from the account of Forstech Technical Nigeria Limited with Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc to the account of Gastroil Ventures Limited Stockbroking Account with the Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers Limited with the aim of concealing its illicit origin and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2004.”

In view of the plea of the accused persons, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN urged the court to ensure expeditious hearing of the case: “I will not oppose the bail, I am more interested in the substantive case. My only concern is that the first accused has brought undue publicity to the matter; I appeal to you my Lord to urge the accused to limit the case to the court. I do not mind all the petitions he has written against me to the NJC, Legal Practices Disciplinary Council, that the law was not complied with in appointing me, I will not allow that affect me, I am interested in the hearing of the case”, he said.

Justice Ademola asked the accused persons to continue on the bail terms previously granted them by Justice Gladys Olotu. The accused were granted bail in the sum of five million naira and one surety in like sum. The surety must have a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court which should be verified by the court.

He adjourned the case to 20th, 21st and 22nd January 2015 for hearing. However, Justice Ademola warned counsel to the first accused to advise his client to desist from making unguarded statement: “When matters are in my court or another court, you allow the matter to be sorted out in court, I don’t like unnecessary petitions and newspaper report or house committee reports on the matter” he said.

The matter is starting afresh before Justice Adeniyi sequel to the retirement of Justice Gladys Olotu. The accused persons were first arraigned on June 18, 2012. Source of Story: Efcc.