EFCC Arraigns Ex-Finance Commissioner In Kwara Over Alleged ₦1.22 Billion Fraud

EFCC Arraigns Ex-Finance Commissioner In Kwara Over Alleged ₦1.22 Billion Fraud

A former commissioner for finance in Kwara State, Ademola Banu, is currently being tried over alleged money laundering and misappropriation of state funds amounting to ₦1.22bn.

Naija News understands that Banu was arraigned before Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin, by the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Banu is accused of conspiring to divert the funds during Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed‘s tenure, from May 2011 to May 2019, when he served as the commissioner for finance.

According to a press statement by the commission’s Head of Media & Publicity, Dele Oyewale, Banu was scheduled to be arraigned alongside former Governor Abdulfatah on February 23, 2024.

However, Banu failed to appear in court and had no legal representation, leading the court to issue a bench warrant against him upon the request of the EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.

During the court proceedings on that date, the former governor, Abdulfatah, pleaded not guilty to the 12-count charge brought against him and his finance commissioner by the EFCC. The court adjourned the case until Monday, April 29, 2024, and ordered the prosecution to ensure Banu’s presence for trial.

Both defendants, Abdulfatah Ahmed and Ademola Banu, were present during Monday’s court session.

When the case was called, A. A. Ajibade, SAN, announced Abdulfatah’s appearance and Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, for Banu. The prosecution team was led by Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.

Jacobs informed the court that the second defendant, who was unavailable at the last sitting when his co-traveller, Abdulfatah, was arraigned, was finally in court to take his plea.

He said: “My Lord, at the last adjournment, the first defendant (governor Abdulfatah) took his plea, but the second defendant (Banu) was not available in court that day, causing your lordship to issue a bench warrant against him.

“Following the order of the court, counsel to the second defendant called me and explained that he would produce his client before the court today, which he has done. I pray the court to allow the charge to be read to him.”

In response, Banu’s counsel, Oyewole, prayed the court to discharge the bench warrant earlier issued against his client, which Jacobs did not oppose.

However, in his ruling, Justice Anyadike vacated the bench warrant on the second defendant, setting the stage for his arraignment. He was, therefore, ordered to enter the dock to take his plea, Naija News understands.

Count three of the charge reads: “That you, ABDULFATAH AHMED (while being the Governor of Kwara State) and ADEMOLA BANU (while being the Commissioner of Finance of Kwara State), between January and December 2018 in Ilorin, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired between yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of the sum of ₦411,000,000.00 (Four Hundred and Eleven Million Naira) property of Kwara State Government meant for the provision of security in Kwara State, which sum you reasonably ought to have known was a proceed of an unlawful act, to wit; theft/fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.

After entering his plea, the defendant’s counsel, Oyewole SAN, moved for bail and asked the court to grant it on liberal terms, citing his client’s medical conditions.

Given the court’s earlier ruling, the prosecution did not oppose bail. Justice Anyadike granted the defendant bail in the sum of ₦20 million Naira with two sureties providing the same amount.

The sureties must have landed property within the court’s jurisdiction and provide evidence of electricity bill payments for the past three months.

Furthermore, the judge ordered the defendant to pay ₦5 million Naira into the Federal High Court’s litigation account as a bond. This will be returned after the case concludes, but forfeited if he jumps bail.

The defendant must also deposit his passport with the court. He cannot travel without court permission but may request it for medical reasons. The defendant will remain in EFCC custody until he meets the bail conditions.

The case was subsequently adjourned to June 25 and 26, 2024 for trial.

The post EFCC Arraigns Ex-Finance Commissioner In Kwara Over Alleged ₦1.22 Billion Fraud appeared first on Naija News.

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