The immediate past Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, on Monday, pleaded not guilty to 18-count charge of N3 billion graft.
Oyo-Ita was arraigned by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, alongside her special assistant, Ubong Effiok; Frontline Ace Global Services Limited; Asanaya Projects Ltd; Garba Umar and his companies, Slopes International Ltd and Gooddeal Investments Ltd.
Other defendants include U & U Global Services Ltd, belonging to Effiok, and Prince Mega Logistics Ltd.
They were all arraigned for alleged fraud in relation to DTA, estacodes, conference fees and receiving kickbacks on contracts, before Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Oyo-Ita was arrested last August and released on administrative bail after spending four days in the custody of the commission.
She was subsequently sacked in September after about N600 million was allegedly found in the bank account of her aide.
At the commencement of trial on Monday, the prosecution lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, informed the court of the 18-count charge dated and filed on February 28 against Oyo-Ita and the other defendants.
Abubakar urged that the charges be read to the defendants.
Count one of the charge reads; “That you Winifred Oyo-Ita (whilst serving as a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Power) and Frontline Ace Global Services Limited (a company incorporated in Nigeria and of which Winifred Oyo-Ita is the sole signatory of its bank accounts at Zenith Bank) sometime in April, 2010 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court collaborated in disguising the genuine Ownership of an aggregate sum of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira only) paid by the Federal Ministry of Power into the Zenith Bank account of Frontline Ace Global Services Limited No: 1011518656 which sum was derived directly from an illegal act, to wit: corruption and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 14(1)(6) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.
The nine defendants all pleaded not guilty to the 18-count charge.