By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Justice O. Efreti Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State has ordered that Mrs. Fidelia Omoile, a serving Independent National Electoral Commission’s ( INEC) official in Isoko- South Local Government Area of Delta State, be remanded in prison custody following her arraignment on Monday, on a two- count amended charge, bordering on conspiracy and money laundering, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Omoile was docked for allegedly collecting the sum of N112, 480,000.00 (One Hundred and Twelve Million, Four Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira), as a bribe during the weeks leading to the 2015 Presidential election. She was among the over 100 INEC Officials that allegedly collected part of the $115million (N23bn) disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison- Madueke, during the countdown to the 2015 presidential election.
Omoile was arrested on 11 April, 2016 following intelligence received by the EFCC on the activities of some INEC Staff, who allegedly connived with some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), in defrauding the Federal Government huge sums of money, running into millions of Naira.
Count one of the charge read: “That you Fidelia Omoile on or about the month of March, 2015 at Asaba within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to receive cash payment in the sum of N 112,480,000.00 (One Hundred and Twelve Million, Four Hindered and Eighty Thousand Naira only) exceeding the statutory limit without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 as amended and punishable under Section 15 (3) and (4) of the same Act”.
Count two of the charge read: “That you Fidelia Omoile on or about the month of March, 2015 at Asaba within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did receive cash payment in the sum of N112,480,000.00 (One Hundred and Twelve Million, Four Hindered and Eighty Thousand Naira only) exceeding the statutory limit without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (a) of the Money laundering ( Prohibition) Act 2012 as amended and punishable under Section 16 (b) and (4) of the same Act”.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to her.
In view of her plea, prosecution counsel, Sadiq Hussaini, asked for a trial date and sued that the defendant be remanded in prison custody. However, counsel to the defendant, K. O Obamogie, made an oral application for bail of his client and urged the court to grant his prayers. Hussaini opposed his prayers.
In his ruling, Justice Abang turned down the defendant’s application for bail, directing that the application be filed formally. He also adjourned the matter to 6 June, 2017 for hearing and ordered the defendant to be remanded in prison custody pending the determination of her bail.
Bauchi Official Docked for N1.9m Land Scam
In another development, the Commission today in Bauchi, arraigned an official of the Bauchi State Ministry of Lands and Survey, Maikudi Ibrahim Abubakar before Justice A.M.Shitu of the Federal High Court Bauchi on one count charge bordering on Obtaining Money by False Pretence.
The accused who hails from Azare, Katagum Local Government, Bauchi State, was alleged to have sometime in April,2014 collected the sum of N1, 955, 000.00 from one Auwal Dankyarana on the pretext that he owned two plots of land situate at Tambari Housing Estate and Gida Dubu Housing Estate respectively in Bauchi and promised to process the title documents of the plots but diverted the funds to personal use. Investigation revealed that, the Certificate of Occupancy of the plots in question were allocated to different people since 2012 while the transaction in this trial only took place in 2014.
The count read, “ That you MAIKUDI IBRAHIM ABUBAKAR sometime in April 2014 in Bauchi, Bauchi State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with an intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N1, 955, 000 from one AUWAL USMAN DANKYARANA as purchase price for two plots of land situate at Gida Dubu Housing Estate with plot number T7 and Tambari Housing Estate with plot number T8 Bauchi, Bauchi State under the false pretence that the said plots belong to you and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (a) and (b)of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and Punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.
He pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. While adjourning the case to May 24, 2017 for trial, Justice Shitu granted the accused person bail in the sum of N2m and two sureties in like sum. One the surety must be a civil servant of grade level 15 in Bauchi State Government.