Arms Deal: Ex-Defence Minister docked in a wheelchair •Son remanded in prison custody

Posted by News Express | 5 January 2016 | 4,282 times

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today arraigned and ex-Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, and his son, Bello Abba Mohammed, before Justice A.R Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a four-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

Mohammed, a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was docked in a wheelchair. He and his son Abba are being prosecuted by EFCC for their alleged role in the diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms through the office of the National Security Adviser NSA).

One of the charges reads: “That you Bello Abba Mohammed, Bam Projects and Properties Limited and Dr. Bello H. Mohammed on or about the 17th of March 2015 at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court took possession of the sum of N300,000,000 (Three Hundred Million Naira) paid into the account of Bam Projects and Properties Limited with Sterling Bank Plc from the account of the office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceed of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd); the then National Security Adviser (to wit: Criminal Breach of Trust and Corruption) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”

Both defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them. Upon their plea, prosecuting counsel, Aliyu F. Yusuf, urged the court to remand the accused persons in prison custody and fix a date for trial to commence.

However, O. Osoka, representing Abba Mohammed (first accused), prayed the court to admit his client to bail on liberal terms. He argued that the accused was not a flight risk and would not interfere with his trial.

In the same vein, Abdulhaziz Ibrahim, standing for Bello Mohammed, the former defence minister and 3rd defendant, told the court that his client was prepared to stand his trial but strongly objected to his intended remand in prison on grounds of ill health.

Ibrahim urged the court to grant him bail on self recognition or alternatively, on very liberal terms.

Responding, Yusuf argued that the applicants had not presented any cogent reasons to warrant their bail. He urged the court to refuse their applications and order accelerated hearing of the case instead.

Justice A.R Mohammed ordered the 1st defendant to be remanded in Kuje Prison and the 3rd defendant to be under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police, who must be notified immediately since the accused is still receiving treatment in the hospital.

The case was adjourned to January 7, 2016 for ruling on the bail application.

•Photo shows Ex-Defence Minister Bello Haliru Mohammed during his trial . . . today at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Source: News Express

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