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Friday, June 03, 2016

EFCC fails to comply with court order on Orosanye

The legal team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Friday, failed to honour an earlier order of the Court, directing it to file clear fresh charges and evidences in the case of breach of trust preferred against Nigeria’s former head of Service, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, reports ITRealms.

Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, had issued an order directing the EFCC to file fresh charges and additional evidence in the suit, a directive the Commission did not heed.

Upon resumed hearing Friday, Counsel to Mr. Oronsaye, Ade Okeaya-Inne, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria drew the attention of the Court to the flaws identified in the processes served.

“On the last adjourned date, the Court made an order that clear copies be served. The copies served do not represent that order. We have been served additional charges and two additional documents. They do not represent the set of clear copies, as ordered,” he said.

Responding, the presiding Judge, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck expressed concerns over the impropriety of the documents.

“The Court is concerned about the propriety of the documents in the courts records, having not been part of the Court’s order. The Court had ordered the EFCC to put their records straight, ahead of today’s proceedings.”

Prosecution Counsel apologized to the Court for the blunder and appealed that the amended charges brought against the accused be read out, a plea the Judge granted.

The former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye however pleaded not guilty to the 7-count amended charge bothering on alleged criminal breach of trust, as Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Financial Action Task Force-FATF, read out to him.

Following an oral application by the Defense Counsel, Ade Okeaya-Inne, SAN, the Court reiterated its earlier order, granting bail to the accused.

“This Court hereby reiterates its earlier order granting bail to the defendant, notwithstanding the additional charges.”

As the hearing commenced, a Prosecution witness, Ibrahim Musa, an Assistant Manager with Zenith Bank Plc, Abuja, shocked the Court, when he claimed that he had never met the accused personally, but managed the account of the Presidential Committee. He explained how the account was opened, following all known banking procedures.

“I have not met Mr. Oronsaye personally, but I know him as former Head of Service and Chairman, Presidential Committee on the Financial Action Task Force. I opened the account for them and was in charge of it. The account was in the name of the Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force. 

"The account number is: 1012749303. There were three major inflows into the account, one on 17th September, 2011 (N51,306,975.00), another on 12th June, 2013 (N160,525,000.00) and the third on 23rd September, 2014.”

During cross examination, Musa denied knowledge of any form of investment of the funds by the accused, as claimed by the prosecution.

“The Committee’s funds in Zenith Bank were never invested. When TSA was implemented, all the monies were sent to the TSA and the account closed,” he explained.

Continuing, the prosecution introduced another witness, Mr. Bello Hammadhama, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, serving in the Special Task Force of the Commission.

In an incoherent testimony that lasted for nearly two hours, the EFCC operative said the Commission received a Petition against the accused, alleging abuse of trust, which they investigated.

At about 1.30pm, with the consent of all the parties, the presiding Judge adjourned the matter to 13th, 24th of June and 8th of July, 2016 for continuation of hearing.

Addressing newsmen after the Court session, Counsel to Mr. Steve Oronsaye, Ade Okeaya-Inneh expressed confidence in the ability of the Judiciary to dispense justice.

It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in March, 2016, dragged Nigeria’s former Head of Service, Stephen Oronsaye, before Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on a two-count charge bordering on alleged breach of trust.

Oronsaye, who is also a former Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force, FATF in 2013, has been having a running battle with the Commission.


Stakeholders have accused the EFCC of witch hunting the former Head of Service, over several issues, including his recommendation for the merger of the EFCC with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission-ICPC, pursuit for autonomy for the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, a department believed to attract heavy foreign donor support to the EFCC, among other issues.

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