The Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja has fixed the trial of the former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, for October 28.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Oronsaye and others for alleged fraud and money laundering offences involving N1.2billion before Justice Gabriel Kolawole.
Also arraigned along with one of the firms through which the money was allegedly siphoned from the federal government’s account – Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited – was the firm’s Managing Director, Osarenkhoe Afe, among others.
Meanwhile, the accused persons had at the resumed hearing yesterday, all pleaded not guilty to the 24 counts preferred against them when they appeared before Justice Kolawole in July, 2015.
The trial judge, initially declined to continue with the hearing of the matter due to the complaints raised by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) at the last adjourned date.
Jacobs had complained that the court granted bail to Oronsaye even before his bail application was argued by Oronsaye’s lawyer, Joe Agi (SAN).
After several appeals from both the prosecution and defence counsel; restating their confidence in the trial judge to do justice in the suit, Justice Kolawole agreed to hear the matter.
Consequently, he adjourned the matter till October 28 and 29 for accelerated hearing.
Shortly after their arraignment, Justice Kolawole released them to go home, pending the hearing of their bail application scheduled for July 21.
Justice Kolawole had granted Oronsaye bail on “self recognition” on July 21.
But the judge ordered that their release would be effective upon filing of a written undertaking by the defence counsel within 48 hours and an assurance to produce the accused persons in court at the next hearing date.
The defendants were allegedly collaborated in defrauding the federal government to the tune of N118,992,201.6 under the guise of paying the money in tranches for the contract of biometric data capture project between March 2010 and December 2011.
The fraud was allegedly perpetrated through the award and payment for fake contracts to nine companies including, Innovative Solutions, Fredrick Hamilton Global Services, Xangee Technologies Limited, Fatideck Ventures, Obalando Nigeria Enterprises, Moshfad Enterprises and Fesbee Global Resources Limited.
Other companies through which the accused persons allegedly siphoned the money from the federal government included Jolance Integrated Concept Limited and M.OF Investment Limited.
One other person, who was allegedly involved in the fraud, Abdulrasheed Maina, was said to be on the run.
The accused persons were charged under section 14 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
The fraud offences were said to be punishable under 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
Culled from: http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/oronsaye-s-fraud-trial-starts-oct-28/222025/