A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday adjourned till January 10 the trial of Mr. Gbenga Makanjuola, a Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for an alleged N3.5billion Paris Clubs Loan scam.
Makanjuola is standing trial alongside three others: Mr. Obiora Amobi; Kolawole Shittu, a cashier in the Senate President’s office, and a company said to have been used as conduit pipe in the alleged scam, Melrose General Services Limited.
The case was stalled following the absence of Justice Babs Kuewumi. The parties were informed that the judge was an attendee at a workshop for judges in Abuja.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) preferred an 11-count fraud charge against Makanjuola, Melrose General Services, Amobi, Shittu, (operations Manager at Melrose).
Also charged is Robert Chidozie, who is said to be “at large’’.
The defendants pleaded not guilty and were admitted to bail in the sum of N250 million each with sureties in the like sum.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offence in December 2016.
They were accused of conspiring to disguise the unlawful origin of the sum of N3.5 billion paid into the account of Melrose.
According to the prosecution, the accused took control of the sum which was transferred from the Nigeria Governors Forum’s account, into an Access Bank account operated by Melrose.
The prosecution said the accused ought to have known that the sum represented proceeds of unlawful activities.
The alleged offences contravened sections 15, 15 (2), 15 (3), 18, and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act 2011.