Stella Oduah, a former aviation minister and alongside others has been arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja over an alleged N5 million fraud.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had fixed Friday, July 21 for the arraignment of the suspects after the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Hassan Liman, SAN, pleaded with the court to allow the defendants to take their plea, having filed the charge against them on December 17, 2020.
The EFCC had sued Oduah alongside her former aide, Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd and others for allegedly committing the N5 billion fraud.
In the 25-count charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2020, the senator, who represented Anambra North Senatorial District at the 9th National Assembly and served as aviation minister during Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and other defendants, are accused of conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with a commercial bank.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Earlier in court, Liman said that on June 15, the court drew attention to a letter or petition written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria against Justice Ekwo and the judge gave a directive to the EFCC to carry out an investigation with a view to unravel the identity of the persons.
He said the commission had carried out the investigation and was able to trace the identity of someone via the telephone number.
According to the lawyer, he is said to be one Mr Okolo Obinna Johnson, a promoter of two companies.
However, Liman said that the anti-graft agency made all efforts to track Johnson, in conjunction with other security agencies but was yet to be successful.
“This is how far the commission has gone in carrying out the directive of the court,” he had said.
He assured that the EFCC would not leave any stone unturned in bringing the culprit to justice.
Justice Ekwo held that any defendant that was not in court anytime the matter was fixed for trial, would be ordered to be arrested and remanded in detention.