Tuesday, 14 July 2015

EFCC arraigns Oronsaye, others for N1.2bn fraud



Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
on Monday arraigned a former Head of Service of
the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, and others
for alleged fraud and money laundering offences
involving N1.2bn. Another accused person
arraigned along with one of the firm’s through
which the money was siphoned from the Federal
Government’s account – Fredrick Hamilton Global
Services Limited – was the firm’s Managing
Director, Osarenkhoe Afe, among others. The
accused persons all pleaded not guilty to the 24
counts preferred against them when they
appeared before Justice Gabriel Kolawole on
Monday. Shortly after their arraignment, Justice
Kolawole released them to go home, pending the
hearing of their bail application scheduled for July
21. But the judge ordered that their release would
be effective upon filing of a written undertaking by
the defence counsel within 48 hours and an
assurance to produce the accused persons in
court at the next hearing date. The accused
persons allegedly collaborated in defrauding the
Federal Government to the tune of
N118,992,201.6 under the guise of paying the
money in tranches for the contract of biometric
data capture project between March 2010 and
December 2011. The fraud was allegedly
perpetrated through the award and payment for
fake contracts to nine companies including,
Innovative Solutions, Fredrick Hamilton Global
Services, Xangee Technologies Limited, Fatideck
Ventures, Obalando Nigeria Enterprises, Moshfad
Enterprises and Fesbee Global Resources Limited.
Other companies through which the accused
persons allegedly siphoned the money from the
Federal Government included Jolance Integrated
Concept Limited and M.OF Investment Limited.
One other person, who was allegedly involved in
the fraud, Abdulrasheed Maina, was said to be on
the run. The accused persons were charged under
section 14 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition)
Act, 2004 and section 1(1) of the Advance Fee
Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act,
2006. The fraud offences were said to be
punishable under 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud
and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. Two
of the 24 counts read, “That you Stephen
Oronsaye, Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina (now at
large), Osarenkhoe Afe and Fedrick Hamilton
Global Services Limited on about July 2, 2010 in
Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable
court collaborated in disguising genuine nature of
the sum of N161,472,000 derived from an illegal
act to wit: conducting procurement fraud by
means of fraudulent and corrupt action the
contract extension of biometric enrolment
purportedly awarded to Innovative Solutions
Limited by Office of the Head of Service of the
Federation without due process and you thereby
committed an offence punishable under section
14(1)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition)
Act, 2004. “That you, Stephen Oronsaye and
Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina (now at large) on
or about July 7, 2010 in Abuja within the
jurisdiction of this honourable court, by false
pretence and with intent to defraud, induced the
delivery of the sum of N119,398,500 from the
Federal Government of Nigeria to one Frederick
Hamilton Global Services Ltd, purporting same to
be contract sums for biometric data capture
project which you know to be illegal and you
thereby committed an offence contrary to section
1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud
Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under
1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud
Related Offences Act, 2006.” EFCC prosecutor, Mr.
Yusuf Aliyu, had urged the court to remand the
accused persons in prison shortly after they took
their pleas. But defence lawyers, Chief Kanu Agabi
(SAN) and Mr. Oluwole Aladedoye, opposed the
application seeking to remand the accused in
prison and urged the court to release them on
bail. Aladedoye had argued that in the event that
the judge was not be willing to grant the oral
application for the bail made, the court should
remand the accused persons in EFCC custody
pending the hearing of their separate bail
applications. He added that the EFCC had no
space to accommodate them before the hearing
of their bail applications. But the judge, in
overruling the EFCC, held that he preferred to
release them in the interim on the grounds that
the EFCC had not indicated that the accused
persons, particularly


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