Trial of NAMA MD, others over alleged N6.8bn fraud fixed for May 12
By Paul Sanusi, Lagos
A Lagos Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Babs Kuewumi, on Wednesday, adjourned the trial of Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr. Ibrahim Abdulsalam and six other persons who are charged before the court on alleged fraud of N6, 850, 447, 609. 90 billion, till May 12.
Abdulsalam is being charged before the court alongside Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Agbolade Segun, his wife, Joy Ayodele Adegorite, who is the Managing Director of Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, Clara Aliche, and two Limited Liability companies Randville investment limited, Multeng Travels and Tours Limited by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), on 24 count charges bordering on alleged fraud.
At the resumed trial of the accused persons on Tuesday, their lawyers led by Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN), urged the court for a very short adjournment to enable them study the ‘bulky’ proof of evidence served them by the prosecution.
Akoni (SAN) who is counsel to Abdulsalam, the first accused the Managing director of NAMA, informed the court the application for adjournment was not to stall the trial of the accused persons but to enable them study the proof of evidence.
Lawyers to the other accused persons which includes: Dunkwa A. for the second accused, Lanre Olayinka, for third accused, Abiodun Julius, for fourth accused, and others informed the court that it had been extremely difficult accessing their clients at the prisons’ facilities where they were being remanded. The situation they said made it impossible for them to perfect the bail terms.
The lawyers also added that since their clients are still in detention, it also compounded to their inability to understand the proof of evidence.
They therefore urged the court to grant their application for adjournment.
However, the EFCC prosecutor Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, vehemently opposed the application for adjournment, while urged the court to dismiss it.
Oyedepo said: “we are opposing the application for adjournment. We find that the applications lack merit, and should be dismissed.”
Oyedepo informed the court that the ground at which the applications for adjournment is over-strength. Adding that court can only grant the applicatiins had been that the accused persons had not been granted bail.
He therefore urged the court to dismiss the application for adjournment, and allow the trial ti commence.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Babs Kuewumi conceded to the accused persons’ application for adjournment, and adjourn the trial till May 12.
The accused persons were re-arraigned before the court on Tuesday, April 12, on 24 count charges of alleged stealing and conversion of the agency’s money amounting to N6,850,447, 609.90.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and admitted to bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety each.
In the 24 count criminal charges marked FHC/ L/ 145C/2016, it was alleged that all the accused persons and one Nnamdi Udoh still at large between January 31, 2013 and September 3, 2015, with intent to defraud and by false pretence conspired together to induced the Agency to deliver the sum of N2, 847, 523, 975 billion, to Delosa Limited, Air Sea Delivery Limited and Sea Schedules Systems Ltd under the pretence that the said sum represented the cost of clearing consignments belonging to the Agency.
The accused persons were also alleged to have converted various sums of money amounting to N4, 003, 532, 608.90 belonging to the Agency, to their personal use.