EFCC Nabs Emeka Mba Etc. For N2.8b Fraud. (Photo)
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission – EFCC – on Tuesday, January 24, 2016 docked a former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Emeka Mba with three others before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja on a 15-count charge of money laundering and fraud to the sum of N2.8billion.
He was arraigned alongside an ex director of finance, NBC, Patrick Areh; Basil Udotai and Babatunji Amure.
They were accused of conniving at various times and transferring a sum of N2,899,723,500 from the NBC’s account through various proxies for their personal gains.
The former boss was also accused of having used his office as NBC DG to award contracts without following due procurement process.
Shortly before the defendants took their plea, counsel to the fourth defendant, E. C Ami asked the court for a short adjournment to allow him respond to the counter affidavit filed to the by the prosecution.
“My Lord we filed a bail application since 25th of December and we were just served with a weighty response, therefore we urge the court to give us a short adjournment to enable us reply”, Ami urged.
In reply to the counsel to EFCC, Ben S. Ikani said that the defence should rather be bothered with the court granting the defendants bail on such conditions that will enable them attend trial.
Justice Kolawole after listening to both counsel, said that there is no point speculating the court proceedings since the judicial process requires the defendants to take their plea before there can be hearing on bail application.
He also ordered that the charges be read to the defendants for them to enter their plea. A of the count reads:
“That you, Emeka Mba (while being the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission), Patrick Areh (while being the Director, Finance and Account of the National Broadcasting Commission), Basil Udotai (trading in the name and style of Technology Advisors) and Babatunji Amure (trading in the name and style of Divine Partners) on or about the 15th day of August, 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an illegal act to wit: laundering the sum of N2,899,723,500.00 (two billion, eight hundred and ninety nine million, seven hundred and twenty three thousand, five hundred Naira) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
In view of their pleas, Ikani expressed readiness to commence trial immediately.
The case has been adjourned to February 28, 2016 for continual of trial.