The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday could not produce a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Godwin Obla, for arraignment in Lagos over alleged money laundering.
The commission charged Obla along with former Justice, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court but Obla was absent before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court.
NAN reports that EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that efforts to reach the SAN proved abortive, claiming that his phones were switched off.He said that Obla’s counsel could not also confirm his whereabouts.
Oyedepo urged the court to allow Ofili-Ajumogobia to be arraigned alone pending production in court of Obla.
The court granted the prayer.
Ofili-Ajumogobia pleaded not guilty to an 18-count charge.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that her re-arraignment followed her re-arrest after an Ikeja High Court struck out a previous charge against her on Tuesday.
The money laundering charge preferred by the EFCC was struck out for lack of jurisdiction.
Obla, a former EFCC prosecution counsel, is the second defendant in the charge numbered FHC/139C/19.
EFCC alleged that the duo conspired on May 21, 2014, to indirectly conceal N5 million in the Diamond Bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd., which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act”.
The alleged offences contravened Sections 15 (2) (a) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.
The EFCC also accused Ajumogobia of indirectly concealing N12 million in the same account, adding that she falsely claimed that the money was payment for a sold property.
Aikawa will later give a ruling on a bail application by the former judge.
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