Contract Scam: EFCC Docks NLC Boss
Commission Opposes Moves By Mahmud Tukur, One Other to Quash Charges Over $1.8Bn Subsidy Scam
Docks Two For N800m Fraud
SAN FRANCISCO, June 10, (THEWILL) â€' The Chairman of the Kano State council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Yunusa Isah Danguguwa, was Monday arraigned by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission before Justice Fatu Riman of the Federal High Court, Kano on one count charge bordering on obtaining N2, 000, 000 (Two Million Naira ) by false pretence .
The accused allegedly obtained the sum from one Usman Arzika of Williams Dabo International Limited under the pretext that the Nigeria Labour Congress, Kano council had awarded a contract to the company for the supply of 250 units of 'second hand' cars and that the N2 million was meant for processing of other contract documents.
Investigation later revealed that no such contract was ever awarded by the council.
The charge reads, 'that you Yunusa Isah Danguguwa, Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress Kano Council on or about 24th July,2012 within the Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, Kano with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira only) from Usman Arzika of Williams Dabo International Limited under the pretence that the Nigeria Labour Congress, Kano Council had awarded a contract to the company for the supply of 250 units of 'second hand' cars and that the sum of N2 million was meant for processing other contract documents which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed and offence contrary to section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act'.
The accused person pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.
Justice Riman granted bail to the accused person in the sum of N5, 000, 000 (Five Million Naira Only) and one surety in like sum. The surety must be a civil servant of not less than grade level 13 and must own a landed property in Kano.
The case was adjourned to June 30, July 1 and 4, 2014 for trial.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has opposed bids by Mahmud Tukur and one other accused person standing trial in a $1.8billion subsidy scam, to quash charges preferred against them.
Tukur is standing trial alongside, Ochonogor Alex, Abdulahi Alao and Eterna Plc.
At the resumed hearing of the matter before Justice Lawal Akapo of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, on Monday, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, prayed the court not to entertain the submissions of the defence team led by Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, to quash the charges against Tukur and others.
Oyetibo had argued that the charges preferred against the accused persons should not be entertained by the court because it was their company, Eternal Plc that committed the crime imputed to them.
However, Jacobs pointed out that the position of the law, on the issue, is that 'a company on its own cannot commit a crime or act on its own but must use human agents'.
He further submitted that, the company, without the human agents, cannot answer to the alleged crime and that the roles played by the accused persons were clearly stated in their statements.
He prayed the court to 'look at the statement of the first accused (Mahmud Tukur) who gave a vivid account of the transaction and how he signed for the monies paid into the account of the 4th defendant(Eterna Plc).'
Jacobs further submitted that Tukur's statement shows his involvement in the transaction that led to the charge. Besides, he said the accused is involved in the day- to- day-running of the affairs of the company and that Ochonogor as Director of Finance during this period, played major role in the importation and transfer of licence.
'So, Tukur and Ochonogor are qualified to be charged together with Eterna Plc, as defined under the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State,' he submitted.
After listening to the arguments of counsel, Justice Akapo adjourned the matter to June 27, 2014, for ruling.
Also, the EFCC Monday arraigned Mohammed Abubakar Kent and Precious Otsu before Justice Sylvanus Chinedu Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja on an 11-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, impersonation, forgery and obtaining money by false pretence.
The suspects allegedly conspired and forged documents in the name of Little Acorns Turkey Project Limited and fraudulently defrauded the company to the tune of N800m (Eight Hundred Million Naira) over a property development scheme at Lokogoma, Abuja.
Count one reads, 'that you Mohammed Abubakar Kent, sometime in, 2011 at Abuja, in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did commit an illegal to wit: theft of the sum of Three Hundred and Two Million Naira (N302, 000, 000.00) contrary to section 286 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under section 287 of the same Code'.
Another count reads, 'that you Precious Otsu sometime between January 2005 and January 2012 at Abuja, in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory dishonestly permitted the illegal withdrawals of money from the account of Little Acorns Turkey Project Limited in violation of the account opening mandate and thereby committed criminal breach of trust contrary to section 311 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under section 312 of the same Code'.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charge preferred against them.
In view of their plea, counsel to EFCC, Onjefu Obe urged the court to fix a date for trial to commence and remand the accused persons in prison custody. However, counsel to the first and second accused, Edwin Inegedu and Dania Tony Abdullahi told the court that they had filed application for the bail of their clients saying, the offence is bailable.
The prosecuting counsel, Obe, however objected on the ground that the accused persons have failed to honour the terms of administrative bail earlier granted them by the Commission. He also told the court that the bail application was served on him on June 6, and that he needed time to respond.
Justice Oriji after listening to the submissions of counsel ordered the first and second accused persons to be remanded in Kuje and Suleja prison respectively.
The case was adjourned to June 11, 2014 for hearing on the bail application.