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EFCC re-arraigns former Kwara Commissioner

Former Commissioner of Information, Olatunji Moronfoye. Photo: Ali Rabiu

Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has re-arraigned the duo of Ope Saraki, and a former Commissioner for Information in Kwara State, Olatunji Moronfoye, on charges bordering abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering.

The two men were re-arraigned on separate charges before Justice Muhammed Sani of the Federal High Court, Ilorin.

The case, which first started on May 13, 2015 before Justice Faji of the Federal High Court, Ilorin has suffered series of setbacks occasioned by transfer of the trial judges.

Mr Saraki, while serving as the state governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), allegedly received a cash payment of N11,180,000 from one Kunle Adimula, a sum which exceeded the cash amount payable to an individual.

The offence contravenes Section 1(a) and 16(1) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16(2) (b) of the same Act.

Similarly, Mr Moronfoye while serving as the Special Adviser to the governor on Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, allegedly committed procurement fraud by means of unlawful influence in the award of two contracts involving renovation of Ijagbo Primary Health Centre and supply of medical equipment to two hospitals in Kwara State.

Ope Saraki. Photo: Ali Rabiu

The alleged offence contravenes Section 58(4) and punishable under Section 58(5)(a) and (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ when the charges were read to them.

Following their pleas, counsel to the EFCC, Sesan Ola, urged the court to fix a date for trial and remand the defendants in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Centre pending trial.

But, Sulyman Abaya and Joshua Olatoke (SAN), representing Mr Saraki and Mr Moronfoye urged the court to allow their clients to continue with the terms and conditions of the bail earlier granted them by the court.

Justice Sani after the submissions by the counsels admitted the defendants to bail on the terms earlier granted them by the first trial judge, having not breached the terms.

The case was adjourned to February 16, 2022 for commencement of trial for Mr Saraki’s case and February 22, 2022 for Mr Moronfoye’s.

Reporting by Ali Rabiu; editing by Muzha Kucha