Former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, eight others are being arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja over fraud related offences.
They are charged with conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with First Bank Plc with about N5billion involved.
The 25-count charge is currently being read to them by an official of the court.
Oduah, and others on Friday pleaded not guilty to the N5 billion fraud charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had, on Monday, reported that Justice Ekwo fixed the date after a counsel that appeared for EFCC, Hassan Liman SAN, prayed the court to allow the defendants to take their plea, having filed the charge against them since Dec. 17, 2020.
Others arraigned alongside the ex-lawmaker, who represented Anambra North Senatorial District at the 9th National Assembly, were Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi and Chukwuma Irene Chinyere.
Others include Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd and others.
Oduah was arraigned on alleged N5 billion fraud and financial misappropriation while she served as Minister during the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
In the 25-count charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2020, they are accused of conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with a commercial bank.
The proceeding was still ongoing at the time of filing this report.
It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has disowned a police lawyer, Ibrahim Mohammed, who filed a criminal charge against Oduah.
The anti-graft agency during the week told Justice James Omotoso of a Federal High Court in Abuja, that Mohammed, a Superintendent of Police was not mandated or authorised to file any criminal charge against Mrs Oduah who recently represented Anambra North in the Senate.
EFCC’s counsel, Helen Okonofua, told the court that the Police lawyer who claimed to have come from the Legal Department of the Force Headquarters was also not authorised by the anti-graft agency to prosecute Mrs Oduah in any criminal matter.
The counsel stated that Mohammed was initially with EFCC but was de-seconded from EFCC back to Police on November 4, 2022 and had since had nothing to do with the EFCC.
She also told the court that the criminal charge filed on June 22, 2023 by the Police lawyer in the name of EFCC has no authority or approval of the agency.
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