Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Nigeria: Former NDDC director re-arraigned in $9.7 million bribery case

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday re-arraigned a former Executive Director, Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Tuoyo Omatsuli, for an alleged N3.6bn bribery.

Omatsuli, alongside Don Parker Properties Limited; Francis Momoh and Building Associates Limited, was re-arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos on amended 52 counts.

The defendants were first arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu in November 2018.

In the charges, the EFCC alleged that they conspired to disguise the illegal origin of the N3.6bn “being proceeds of unlawful activity; to wit: corruption and gratification.”

The EFCC alleged that the N3.6bn was a bribe received by Omatsuli from Starline Consultancy Services Limited, a firm engaged by the NDDC to help it recover its statutory three per cent annual budgets of oil and gas producing companies in the Niger Delta.

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Ekene Iheanacho, said Omatsuli and others acted contrary to Section 18 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and were liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same act.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the entire 52 counts.

The anti-graft agency had in December 2018 secured a permanent forfeiture order in respect of four landed properties at Lekki Peninsula Scheme, Lagos, belonging to Omatsuli said to be worth N846.03m.

Justice Saidu adjourned till Tuesday for continuation of the defendants’ trial.

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