N450m Fraud: EFCC Closes Case Against Former Power Minister, Wakil, Others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Maiduguri Zonal Command, concluded its case on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, against Mohammed Wakil, a former Minister of Power, and four co-defendants.

The prosecution presented three witnesses before Justice K. Dagat of the Federal High Court in Maiduguri, Borno State, during the proceedings.

Allegations of Money Laundering: High-Profile Trial of Prominent Figures

Wakil, along with Garba Abatcha, Ibrahim Shehu Birma, Dr. Abubakar Ali Kullima, and Engr. Muhammad Baba Kachalla, faced a re-arraignment on a seven-count charge of criminal conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The sum in question amounted to N450,000,000.00 and was allegedly received from a $115 million fund disbursed by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, with the intention of influencing the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

Charges and Pleas: Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

One of the charges stated that the defendants, including Hon. Muhammad Wakil, Garba Abatcha, Ibrahim Shehu Birma, Dr. Abubakar Ali Kullima, and Engr. Muhammad Baba Kachalla, conspired to commit money laundering on or about March 26, 2015, in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The charge falls under Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2022 (as amended). All defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges leveled against them.

Prosecution Presents Evidence: Documents Tendered as Exhibits

Prior to closing its case, the prosecution counsel, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, supported by S.O. Saka, Faruku Muhammad, A.D Aliyu, V.O. Ekanem, and A.A Ayanshola, submitted various documents as evidence.

These included statements of the defendants, evidence of payment received by the three Senatorial districts, a draft from the first defendant, and a response letter from Fidelity Bank detailing the means of identification of the first and second defendants.

These documents were admitted as exhibits in the trial.

Justice Dagat adjourned the case until October 3, 4, and 5, 2023, granting the defendants the opportunity to open their defense during this period.

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