Transferred judge adjourns trial of Senate President Saraki’s aide to March 13.
Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, yesterday adjourned the N3.5 billion fraud trial involving Senate President Bukola Saraki’s deputy chief of staff, Gbenga Makanjuola, to March 13, 2019.
Acting spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade, disclosed in a statement yesterday in Abuja that the adjournment was due to Kuewumi’s transfer to Sokoto.
Makanjuola, alongside Kolawole Shittu, Robert Mbonu and Obiora Amobi were arraigned on October 2018 for alleged conspiracy, accepting cash payment beyond threshold and money laundering to the tune of N3.5 billion.
Part of the 11-count charge reads: “That you, Gbenga Makanjuola, sometime in December 2016 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did accept cash payment of the sum of $500,000 from Kolawole Shittu without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and admitted to bail in the sum of N250 million each with two sureties in like sum.
Justice Kuewumi had told the parties yesterday that he was not ready to commence the trial, as he had been transferred to Sokoto jurisdiction of the court.
He, therefore, urged the parties to take a new date and wait for the incoming judge to handle the matter.
Following the judge’s pronouncement, both the prosecution and defense agreed on March 13 for the commencement of trial.