Northern Nigerian Breaking News

N5 Billion Fraud: Court adjourns Stella Oduah’s trial

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Tuesday rescheduled the trial of Stella Oduah, a Chinese construction giant, CCECC, and others on alleged N5 billion fraud charges for November 14.

Justice Inyang Ekwo could not hear the matter, which was number three on the cause list.

Although counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Offem Uket, was in court, the defendants, including Ms Oduah, were not in court.

Justice Ekwo had, on July 21, ordered the EFCC to produce persons behind breaching his privacy through text messages on his phone and another group who petitioned the chief justice of Nigeria regarding the ongoing case.

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The judge, who adjourned the matter until Tuesday, directed that the anti-corruption agency must produce those persons in court.

“I will give a date for trial and make a consequential order because you have allowed this matter to degenerate this way.

“Do you think you can shield any of these persons who have interfered in these proceedings?” he asked rhetorically.

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Ms Oduah, a former senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District at the ninth National Assembly, and others were arraigned on July 21 on 25-count charges.

She was arraigned alongside CCECC Nigeria Ltd, the Nigerian subsidiary of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), established by the Chinese government to execute international contracts and economic cooperation.

Also joined in the charge are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, and Chukwuma Irene Chinyere.

Others include Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, and Sobora International Ltd.

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They all pleaded not guilty to the counts and were admitted to bail in terms of the administrative bail earlier granted them by the anti-graft agency.

In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2020 and filed by the EFCC on December 17, 2020, the defendants are being accused of laundering various sums of money totaling about N5,052,415,984 between February and June 2014.

The EFCC accused the defendants of conspiracy to commit money laundering, transferring, taking control, and taking possession of proceeds of fraud, aiding and abetting money laundering, and opening anonymous bank accounts.

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Specifically, the prosecution alleged in two of the 25 counts that Ms. Oduah, a former Aviation Minister, and Ms. Odita opened anonymous “Private Banking Nominee” dollar and naira accounts with First Bank Ltd, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 11(4) (a) of the same Act.

In the charge, CCECC Nigeria Limited allegedly transferred over N2.5 billion into the naira account of a private banking nominee between March 31 and June 6, 2014.



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