The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned one Ngozi Anumudu on January 31, before Justice Anna Akobi of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court sitting in Kwali on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and retention of proceeds of criminal conduct.
Anumudu is alleged to have along with her husband, Chidi Anumudu and one Sarah Okafor (at large) falsely presented themselves to one Dr. Paul Edherije that they had the letter of mandate from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to supply crude oil to buyers in China.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Ngozi Loretta Anumudu, being the MD/CEO of Yaang Impressions Limited, Chidi Anumudu (still at large) and Sarah Okafor (still at large) sometime between September and December 2016 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud conspired to obtain the sum of N17,600,000 (Seventeen Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira) by false pretence and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 8(c) and 1(3) of the same Act”.
She pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
In view of the plea, prosecuting counsel, Richard Dauda, asked for a trial date “to enable the prosecution assemble its witnesses and bring them before the court”.
Defence counsel, Obinna Ekezie, however moved the motion for the bail of the defendant, pursuant to Section 35(1), 36(5) and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and also Section 156 and 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
Ekezie also presented to the court a medical report attached to the affidavit which, he said emanated from the Nigerian Police Hospital, adding that the defendant was not in good health.
“We pray the court to exercise discretion in favour of the defendant,” Ekezie said.
Dauda, however, opposed the bail, arguing that the defendant was “a flight risk”, and will fail to stand her trial.
“She was granted administrative bail twice but ended up jumping bail at all times after reporting few times when granted bail,” he argued, stressing that it took the efforts of the Nigeria Police to effect her arrest in Owerri, Imo State, after which she was transferred to the EFCC office in Abuja.
Dauda went on to add that the presumption of innocence does not exempt a wrongdoer from prosecution, “it only means that the burden of displacing the fact that an accused person is innocent is on the prosecution and it is at the discretion of the court to grant or refuse bail judicially and judiciously as the essence of bail is to ensure attendance”.
“We urge that if the defendant will be granted bail, the court should give conditions that will make her stand trial,” he added.
Justice Akobi, thereafter, ordered that she should be remanded in EFCC custody pending the ruling on the bail application on February 7, 2019, and should be allowed to have access to full medical facilities.