The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has re-arraigned George Turnah, a former special adviser to the ex-managing director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Dan Abia on fraud charges.
The agency, in a statement on Monday by its spokesman Wilson Uwujaren, said it also arraigned two others alongside Mr Turnah and nine firms before Justice Mohammed Turaki of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The defendants were re-arraigned on Friday on an amended 23-counts, bordering on obtaining money by false pretense, money laundering, and abuse of office to the tune of N2.89bn.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecution counsel I. Agwu adopted the subsisting evidence on record and told the court that the witnesses who had earlier testified before the court wouldn’t be called upon to re-testify against the defendants.
One of the charges indicated that the defendants on November 24, 2014, took possession of the sum of N708,500,000 by false pretence from the Niger Delta Development Commission, purportedly for the purpose of providing quick win jobs for 300 youths and women groups and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under 15 (3) of the same Act.
On his part, counsel for the defendants, Professor Amuda Kaneke prayed the court not to revoke the existing bail granted the defendants and further urged the court for an adjournment to enable him study the amended charge against his clients before proceeding with his defense.
The other defendants are Ebis Orubebe, and Uzorgor Chidiebere; while the companies are El- Godams Global Services Ltd., Turnoil and Gas Nigeria Ltd., Kolo Creek Petroleum Development Ltd., Celtic Pride Consult and Events Ltd., Yenagoa Mall Ltd., the Incorporated Trustees of Concerned Niger Delta Initiative, Akara Boro Marine Services Ltd., Sugarland Integrated Farms Nig. Ltd and Geohan Telecommunications Nig. Ltd.
Justice Turaki ordered that the defendants’ existing bail continue and adjourned the matter till March 15, 16 and 17, 2021 for continuation of trial.