N300m Fraud: EFCC begins fresh trial of ex-PDP national chair, Bello Mohammed


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday began afresh the trial of former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Bello Mohammed before a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja over alleged engagement in a N300m fraud.

The fraud sum represents part of the purported fund meant for the procurement of arms through the office of the ex-National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki but which was allegedly diverted.

Mohammed had been on trial over the matter more than eight years ago at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

He was however granted bail in the matter on January 7, 2016.

Although the matter had reached advanced stage, Justice Mohammed was however elevated to the Court of Appeal recently, making the case to start afresh on Monday.

Mohammed was therefore arraigned in courtalongside his company, Bam Projects and Properties Ltd, for alleged criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

While the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) is the complainant in the amended charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/389/2015, Bam Projects and Properties Ltd and Bello Haliru Mohammed are joined as co-defendants in the case.

The amended charge was dated and filed on March 18 by the anti-graft counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN.

When the matter was called on Monday, lawyer who appeared for EFCC, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, told the court that the matter was for the defendants to take their plea and that he was ready to proceed.

He said an amended charge had been filed and the defence had been served.

Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, the defendants’ lawyer, confirmed the receipt of the amended charge.

After the charge was read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty to all the counts and Atolagbe applied for trial date.

Agabi, however, prayed the court to allow Mohammed continue on existing bail granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed.

The senior lawyer said that Mohammed did not flout the earlier bail conditions granted him and that he would not jump bail.

Although Atolagbe did not oppose Agabi’s application, he however argued that his bail was once revoked for breaching the terms.

Justice Lifu, who admitted Mohammed to the bail earlier granted by a sister court, adjourned the matter till May 7 and May 8 for trial.

In count one, the company, the ex-PDP chair and his son, Bello Abba Mohammed (now deceased), was accused to have taken possession of the sum of N300 million paid into the account of Bam Project and Properties Ltd with Sterling Bank Plc from the account of the office of the NSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria on or about March 17, 2015.

The EFCC alleged that the funds formed part of the proceed of an unlawful activity of Col. Dasuki (rtd.) and that the offence is contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended in 2012) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

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