The scheduled trial of Mr Gbenga Makanjuola, a Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and two others over an alleged N3.5bn Paris Club Loan scam has been adjourned till January 10, 2019.
The trial was adjourned on Tuesday due to the absence of the judge, Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
He was said to have attended a workshop for judges holding in Abuja.
Subsequently, the parties reached an agreement to pick the new date.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on October 7, arraigned Mr Makanjuola, Mr Obiora Amobi & Mr Kolawole Shittu, a Cashier in the Senate President’s office on charges bordering on conspiracy, payment of some monies without going through financial institutions.
At their arraignment, the EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Ekene Iheanacho, had told the court that the three defendants, a limited company, Melrose General Services Limited, said to have been used as conduit pipe and one Robert Chidozie Mbonu (now at large), sometimes in December 2016, conspired among themselves to disguise the origin of the sum of N3.5 billion, which was paid into Melrose General Services Limited account with Access Bank Plc.
Iheanacho also told the court that the third accused, Obiora Amobi, who is the operation manager of Melrose General Services between December 15 and 17, 2016, made a cash payment of N300 million to Robert Mbonu (now at large) from the said N3.5 billion, without going through a financial institution.
It was also alleged that Saraki’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Makanjuola, and the Cashier in the Senate President’s office, Shittu, had in December 2016, made cash payment of a total of $1.5 million USD, of $500, 000, on three tranches, between themselves without going through a financial institution.
The offences according to the EFCC are contrary to 18, 15(2)(d), 15(2) (b) 1(a) and 16(2) (b) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, and punishable under Sections 15(3) and 16 (2) (b) of the same act.
All the accused persons had pleaded not guilty to all the counts of the charge and were admitted to bail in the sum of N250 million each with two sureties in the same sum.