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You have a case to answer, the court tells Nyako, son, others



You have a case to answer, the court tells Nyako, son, others

By Wandoo Sombo

Abuja Federal High Court Judge Okon Abang ordered Murtala Nyako (rtd) to present his defense in the alleged N29 billion money laundering charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Judge Abang issued the order on Monday while ruling on the dismissal filed by the former governor of Adamawa, his son Abdul-Aziz and other defendants in the case.

The other defendants are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd.

The judge said he had carefully considered the evidence provided by the 21 prosecution witnesses and was of the opinion that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the accused.

“I calmly, carefully and thoroughly reviewed the evidence produced by the 21 chief witnesses and in cross-examination, including the oral and written arguments of all the accused.

“I have again carefully and thoroughly reviewed the statements of the 21 witnesses and the massive documentary evidence and out-of-court statements of the accused.

“I have carefully considered the legal arguments of all of the defendants’ lawyers, their written and oral arguments, and the prosecution’s argument in this decision.

“It is my humble but firm opinion that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the accused and that they are required to present their defense immediately.

The judge considered that the non-appeal filed by the defendants was unfounded and he therefore dismissed it.

He adjourned the case until October 4, October 5, October 7 and October 8 for the defendants to open their case.

The EFCC is suing the former governor and his son, Abdul-Aziz; two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd, for money laundering offenses.

The EFCC had indicted them on 37 counts of criminal conspiracy, theft, abuse of power and money laundering.

The trial began on July 7, 2015, and the anti-corruption agency closed its case on November 3, 2019 after calling 21 witnesses to establish its evidence against the defendants.

Instead of opening their defense, the defendants chose to file a motion for dismissal in which they argued that the facts put forward by all the witnesses called by the prosecution did not prove the allegation made against them. (NAN) ()

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