EFCC arraigns Okupe on N702m fraud, money laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday arraigned Doyin Okupe, a former senior special assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, for N702m money laundering.

He was arraigned on a 59-count charge of money laundering and criminal diversion of funds before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja, with two companies, Value Trust Investment Ltd and Abrahams Telecoms Ltd.

 One of the counts reads, “That you, Dr Doyin Okupe, being the senior special assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan from July 2012 to May 2015, and being the managing director/chief executive officer and a signatory to the bank account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd, on or about the 3rd October, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, directly took possession or control of the sum of N35m, transferred to the account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria purporting to be for special services when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity.”

 The accused pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

The acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, disclosed in a statement.

 Following Okupe’s plea, the prosecuting counsel, Ibrahim Audu, asked for a date for commencement of the trial. Okupe’s counsel, Tolu Babaleiye, through a motion on notice, dated December 17, 2018, prayed the court to admit the defendant to bail.

 “The defendant will in no way tamper with evidence since the proof of evidence is before the court, that means investigation has been concluded,” he said.

 While responding to the application, Audu argued that “the defendant was given administrative bail after he volunteered his statement but after that he was nowhere to be found until December 2018 in Lagos.”

 He however urged the court to exercise its discretion.

After listening to the arguments, Justice Ojukwu granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N100m with one surety in like sum.

The trial judge said, “The surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court, and must depose to an affidavit of means, must have landed properties which must also be within the jurisdiction of the court; must submit to the court tax clearance papers from 2016 to 2018, also have recent passport photograph.

 “The surety and defendant must deposit their international passports to the court. The documents are to be deposited with the deputy chief registrar, litigation of the court.”

 She adjourned till February 27 for trial.
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