Ilorin zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin, ex-Kwara state governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s aide Ope Saraki for alleged money laundering.
Just last week the anti-graft agency arraigned the same Ope Saraki before an Ilorin, Kwara state High Court for alleged contract scam amounting to a sum of N220 million.
The commission Tuesday arraigned the defendant on a one-count charge of money laundering.
EFCC alleged that the Kwara politician received the sum of N11 million from one Kunle Adimula while serving as senior Special Assistant on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the governor of Kwara state contrary to money laundering prohibition act of 2011.
The charge reads: “That you, Ope Saraki, sometime in February 2019 , whilst being the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Kwara state on Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs) at Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did receive cash payment of N11,180,000.00 (eleven million, one hundred and eighty thousand naira) from one Kunle Adimula , an employee of Kwara state government, which sum exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to section one and 16 of the money laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 16 of the same Act”
But Saraki pleaded not guilty to the charge brought against him.
Prosecuting counsel, Sesan Ola said “my Lord, we humbly apply for trial date to enable the prosecution call its witnesses and prove our case against the accused person.”
Defence lawyers led by Dr Joshua Olatoke (SAN) said “my lord, we are not opposing for the trial date, but we are urging your lordship to use your discretion to grant bail to the defendant pending the hearing and final determination of this case.
“I want my lord to take judicial notice of the present challenges of Coronavirus that is confronting the country, it is only the living that can stand trial my Lord, that is why I want your lordship to use your discretion and grant bail to the defendant ”
Presiding Judge Babangana Ashigar granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum.
He ordered that one of the sureties must reside in the jurisdiction of the court.
Justice Ashigar added that Saraki should submit his travel documents to the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.
He also ordered that the politician remains in the custody of the EFCC till he perfects his bail conditions.
He then adjourned further hearing in the case to May 15th, 2020.