Saraki’s aide arraigned by EFCC for alleged N3.5bn fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday arraigned an aide to Senate President Bukola Saraki, Gbenga Makanjuola, for an alleged fraud of N3.5bn. Makanjuola was arraigned alongside a firm, Melrose General Services Limited; and one Obiorah Amobi before the Federal High Court in Lagos. The 11 counts pressed against the defendants border on conspiracy and money laundering.

In the charges, the EFCC alleged that they committed the offence sometime in December 2016 in connivance with one Robert Mbonu, said to be at large. The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants “took control of N3.5bn that was transferred from the Nigeria Governors Forum’s account into an Access Bank Plc account number 0005892453, operated by Melrose General Services Limited.”

The EFCC averred that the suspects “reasonably ought to have known that the said fund represented the proceeds of unlawful activities, to wit, conspiracy, stealing and fraud.”

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Ekene Iheanacho, said the defendants acted contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and are liable to being punished under Section 15 (3)of the same Act.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty when the 11 counts were read to them before Justice Babs Kuewumi. The judge ordered that they be remanded in the prison custody till October 9, when he would rule on their bail applications.

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