N700m Diezani cash: EFCC rearraigns Yero, others

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By Emma NjokuA former governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, was re-arraigned before Justice R.M Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Kaduna, on an eight count amended charges bordering on money laundering.Head, Media and Publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement, yesterday, said the re- arraignment was sequel to the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice M.G Umar, from the state.Yero is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside Nuhu Somo Wya (a former minister), Ishaq Hamsa (a former Secretary to Kaduna State Government) and Abubakar Gaiya Haruna (a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state), for their alleged involvement in the receipt and disbursement of the sum of N700 million, paid to them by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.At yesterday’s sitting, the prosecution counsel, Nasiru Salele, told the court that the case was for re-arraignment of the defendants and urged the court to ask them to take their pleas. The charges were read to the defendants and they all pleaded ‘not guilty’.One of the amended counts reads: “That you, Muktar Ramalan Yero (while being the executive governor of Kaduna State), Nuhu Somo Wya (whilst being a former minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) and Abubakar Gaiya Haruna (whilst being the chairman People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kaduna State Chapter, sometime in 2015, in Kaduna, within the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court (Federal High Court), did conspire among yourselves to commit a felony to wit: indirectly taking possession of the sum of N700,000,000.00, which you ought to have known forms part of unlawful activity to wit; bribery and, thereby, committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”Another count reads: “That you, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (whilst being the Executive Governor of Kaduna state), Nuhu Somo Wya (whilst being a former minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Ishaq Hamza (whilst being the secretary to the Kaduna State government), and Abubakar Gaiya Haruna (whilst being the chairman the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kaduna State Chapter, sometime in 2015, in Kaduna, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court (Federal High Court) did, indirectly, take possession of the aggregate sum of N700,000,000.00, which you reasonably ought to have known forms parts of the proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: bribery and, thereby, committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011( as amended) in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”. Following their pleas, the defence counsel, Yunus Ustaz Usman, urged the court to extend to the defendants, the terms of the bail earlier granted them by the former judge. The prosecution counsel, Nasiru Salele, appearing with M.E Eimonye and P.C Onyeneho, did not object to the application.Justice Umar granted bail to the defendants on the same terms earlier offered them by the court.The case was adjourned till January 16, 17 and 18,  2023 for trial.



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