The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday re-arraigned Ope Saraki, a cousin to former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and a former Commissioner for Information in Kwara State, Olatunji Moronfoye, for abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering.
The duo was re-arraigned on separate charges before Justice Muhammed Sani of the Federal High Court, Ilorin.
The case, which first started on May 13, 2015, before Justice A. Faji of the Federal High Court, Ilorin, has suffered a series of setbacks occasioned by the transfer of the trial judges.
Saraki, while being the Senior Special Assistant on Millennium Development Goals allegedly received a cash payment of N11.180 million, which exceeded the cash amount payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(a) and 16(1) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 16(2) (b) of the same Act.
Similarly, Moronfoye while being the Special Adviser on MDGs allegedly committed procurement fraud through unlawful influence in the award of two contracts involving the renovation of Ijagbo Primary Health Centre and supply of medical equipment to two hospitals in Kwara State.
The alleged offence contravened section 58(4) and is punishable under section 58(5)(a) and (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed that the two defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and the counsel to the EFCC, Sesan Ola, urged the court to fix a date for trial and remand the defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service pending trial.
But Sulyman Abaya and Joshua Olatoke, SAN, representing Saraki and Moronfoye urged the court to allow their clients to continue with the terms and conditions of the bail earlier granted them by the court.
The statement titled, ‘Saraki’s cousin, ex-Kwara commissioner, Moronfoye re-arraigned for money laundering, contract scam,’ stated that Justice Sani after listening to the submissions by the counsel admitted the defendants to bail on the terms earlier granted them by the first trial judge.
Justice Faji had on May 13, 2015, admitted Moronfoye and Saraki to bail in the sum of N50m and two sureties in like sum.
The statement read, “The sureties must produce Certificate of Occupancy of landed property within the urban area of Ilorin and must swear to an affidavit of means. The sureties must also produce evidence of tax payment for three years. The accused persons must be reporting to EFCC head office, Abuja, every three weeks and must notify EFCC whenever they intend to travel.”
Sani adjourned till February 16, 2022, for commencement of trial for Saraki and February 22 for Moronfoye.