Armsgate: Court remands NAF chief, two others in Kuje prison

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Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja ordered Friday that three men, including Air Vice Marshall Tony Omenyi (retired) be remanded in Kuje prison.

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Also to be kept in Kuje prison are an employee of Diamond Bank Plc, Babatunde Faro and Sada Adamu.

The judge ordered their remand after they were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on two separate charges.

Omenyi and his company, Huzee Nigeria Limited, were arraigned on a 3-count charge of abuse of office and money laundering involving N136.325.000.00.

Omenyi and his firm are being prosecuted for their alleged roles in the diversion of funds meant for the purchase of arms by the military.

Omenyi pleaded not guilty when the charge was read, following which his lawyer, Wahab Olatoye, urged the court to dismiss the claim of the prosecution, to the effect that he (prosecution lawyer) was ready for trial.

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Olatoye argued that he was yet to be served the statements of the defendants and the prosecution’s witnesses as recommended under the ‘Practice Direction Act, 2013’.

He applied for his client’s bail orally, arguing that the defendant, under the law was presumed innocent until proved otherwise.

In a brief ruling, the judge noted that all the necessary materials have been filed ny the prosecution and adjourned to November 14 for the hearing of the defendant’s formal bail application.

One of the counts in the charge reads: “That you, AIR VICE MARSHALL TONY OMENYI (whilst being a public officer) and HUZEE NIGERIA LIMITED between 16th and 23rd August, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court took possession of the sum of N61,525,000.00 (sixty one million, five hundred and twenty five thousand naira only) transferred to the FCMB account of Huzee Nigeria Limited by SkyExperts Nigeria Limited, a contractor of AETSL, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said funds formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activity ( to wit: corruption) of Air Vice Marshall Tony Omenyi and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.

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Faro and Admu were arraigned separately on a four-count charge of money laundering, false declaration of assets and fraud to the tune of $1million.

Adamu was alleged to have made cash payment of the said sum being an amount exceeding the stipulated N5million threshold stipulated by law, to Faro.

The offence is said to be punishable under Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(2)(b) of the same Act.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, following which their lawyers, W. Y. Maman and W. T. Iorshe prayed the court to grant their clients bail pending trial.

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Justice Dimgba adjourned to November 14, 2016 for ruling on the bail application and ordered the accused persons to be remanded in Kuje prison.

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