N450m Fraud: EFCC re-arraigns ex-Minister, Wakil, four others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday has re-arraigned a former Minister of State for Power, Muhammad Wakil and four others before Justice J.K. Dagad of the Federal High Court, Maiduguri, Borno State on a seven-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N450 million.

Wakil is standing trial alongside Garba Abacha, Ibrahim Shehu Birma, Dr. Abubakar Ali Kullima and Engr. Muhammad Baba Kachalla.

They are alleged to have received the said sum from the $115 million disbursed by a former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

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Count one reads: “That you, Hon. Muhammad Wakil, Garba Abacha, Ibrahim Shehu Birma, Dr. Abubakar Ali Kullima and Engr. Muhammad Baba Kachalla on or about the 26th day of March, 2015 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did agree among yourselves to do an illegal act, to wit: conspiracy to commit money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended)”.

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They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Counsel for the EFCC, Benjamin Manji, prayed the court for a date for commencement of trial.

Thereafter, Justice Dagad adjourned the matter to November 5, 2019.

The trial judge also granted them bail on the earlier terms and conditions previously granted them by Justice Muhammad Salihu of a Federal High Court, Maiduguri, Borno State.

It will be recalled that they were initially arraigned before Justice Salihu on July 2, 2018 before his retirement from service, which necessitated the need for the case to be re-assigned to a new judge and to start de novo.

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