ONSA Fraud: Again, Court Adjourns Ex-Accountant-General to July 2

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, April 30, 2018 asked Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja to issue a warrant of arrest against Jonah O. Otunla, former Accountant-General of the Federation, for his continued absence in court to answer charges of money laundering to the tune of N2billion preferred against him and eight others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The defendant has since October 12, 2017 when the case was filed and assigned failed to make himself available for arraignment, forcing the court to adjourn on four different occasions.
Otunla’s counsel Ahmed Raji, SAN, had at the last adjournment (January 22 informed the court that his client was away “for medical treatment abroad” and so asked for more time.
However, his co-defendant, Otunba Ade Adelakun, is always in court, while Col. Bello Fadile, former Director of Special Studies, ONSA, (also a defendant in the suit) is still at large.
The rest of the six defendants are companies said to have benefited from the fund allegedly withdrawn from ONSA account with the Central Bank of Nigeria purportedly for the supply of security equipment.
The companies are Gold Reef Industries Limited, Lambster Nigeria Limited, G.C Electronic Limited, Sinmilak Nigeria Limited, Wehsac Farms Limited, Shepherded Field Global Resources Limited and Stellavera Development Company Limited.
At the resumed sitting today, counsel to the EFCC, Francis Jirbo, while justifying the application for the order of arrest against the defendant said: “The first defendant (Otunla), having jumped administrative bail has failed severally to appear before the court. I hereby apply for a warrant of arrest to produce the defendant and to be properly charged by this Honorable Court”.
Jirbo noted that the oath of warrant of arrest, filed on March 1, 2018 was brought pursuant to Section 37 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
The oath further disclosed that the former Accountant-General and the second defendant (Otunba Ade Adelakun) were investigated by the EFCC and had responded by making statements in writing, while their accomplice, Fadile, bolted out of the country and is currently said to be living in the United Kingdom as a fugitive”.
Jirbo, who also attached the charge filed previously in court with Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CR/174/17 said the application was made in good faith believing the content to be true and in accordance with the Oath’s Act.
Raji, however, responded with a motion on notice dated January 16, 2018 brought pursuant to Section 266 and 492(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and Section 36(1) (4) and (6b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The motion stated that the ailment with which the defendant was afflicted with was life threatening and required urgent, regular and serious medical attention.
He sought to defer the arraignment of the first defendant until sometime after June 2018 to enable him recover from his ill health and become fit to attend his trial.
In the circumstance Justice Dimgba adjourned to July 2, 2018 for the defendant to be present in court for arraignment.

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