A former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), was arraigned yesterday on a fresh N900 million money laundering charge.
He was arraigned with Aliyu Abubakar at a Federal High Court in Abuja on a seven-count charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Both defendants were accused of making huge cash payments in contravention of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
Adoke and Abuabakar are also being tried in a separate charge before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Gwagwalada, Abuja, on the alleged $1.2 billion Malabu Oil deal.
They pleaded not guilty when the fresh charge was read to them yesterday.
The defence lawyers, including Mike Ozekhome (SAN), applied for bail for the defendants, which Justice Binta Nyako granted.
The judge adopted the conditions attached to the bail earlier granted Adoke and Abubakar during their trial before Justice Abubakar Kutigi of the High Court of the FCT in Gwagwalada.
Justice Nyako adjourned till noon on April 1 for the commencement of trial.
Justice Kutigi had, in a ruling on January 30, 2020, granted bail to Adoke and Abubakar at N50 million and a surety each.
The judge ordered that the sureties must be resident of Abuja with landed properties within the jurisdiction and properties worth the bail sum.
The defendants were also ordered to deposit their travel documents with the court and that they must not travel outside the court’s jurisdiction without its permission.
When the defence team expressed fear that the EFCC could re-arrest the defendant, Justice Nyako cautioned the prosecution against acting in contravention of the court order.
Adoke and Abubakar were later allowed to go home from the court, after the judge had signed their release warrant.
The new charge reads:
That you, Mohammed Bello Adoke, sometime in September 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, accepted as payment the United States dollars equivalent to N300,000,000.00 from Abubakar Aliyu and you thereby committed an offence as specified under Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
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