‘Give Me More Time To Refund Remaining Looted Funds’ – Former Accountant-General, Anamekwe Nwabuoku Begs Court

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A former acting Accountant-General of the Federation, Anamekwe Nwabuoku has begged for time to return looted funds.

He pleaded with Justice James Omotoso of a Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday to give him more time to conclude the refund of the public funds allegedly looted by him and the co-defendant in the suit.

Nwabuoku and his co-defendant, Felix Nweke, are facing an 11-count money laundering charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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Nwabuoku and Nweke, a former Deputy Director in the Ministry of Defence, are being prosecuted for money laundering offences to the tune of N1.6 billion.

The defendants were accused of committing to the act while Nwabuoku served as the Director of Finance and Accounts in the Ministry of Defence between 2019 and 2021.Nigeria Will Exit Recession Q1, 2020 - Finance Minister

While Nwabuoku is the first defendant, Nweke is the second defendant in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/240/24 dated May 20 and filed on May 27 by EFCC counsel, Ekele Iheanacho.

Nwabuoku was appointed acting AGoF on May 20, 2022, under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari after Ahmed Idris was suspended as AGF over alleged N80 billion fraud.

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He was, however, removed in July 2022, a few weeks after assuming office.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, the defendants prayed the court to halt their arraignment until another date to perfect the refund.

The defendants were docked to take their plea.Zainab Ahmed

Nweke’s lawyer, Emeka Onyeaka, informed the court that there was a new development in the case.

He told the court that his client had taken steps toward settling the matter.

The lawyer said Nweke had made substantial refunds of the money traced to him by the anti-graft agency.

“The second defendant has taken steps, as there is a communication to the commission via-a-vs the alleged offences on making a refund.niger

“The commission is in receipt of the money and promised to communicate to us,” he said.

Onyeaka said, “Upon being served with the charge on Monday, we communicated with the commission and we were asked to tarry for their administrative procedure.

He said since a substantial amount had been refunded if his client is arraigned, such action would affect the trial.

He, therefore, prayed the court to grant them an adjournment to take further steps on the administrative procedure.

Maduakolam Igwe, who appeared for Nwabuoku, aligned with Onyeaka’s submission.

Igwe said his client had equally taken the same steps and that a substantial amount had been refunded.

“We have written to the commission on this. The first defendant has also made some refunds.

“May I adopt the submission of my learner friend to tidy up the administrative procedure,” he corroborated.

Responding, counsel who appeared for the EFCC, Ogechi Ujam, acknowledged that though the commission was in receipt of a proposal letter, she said, “However, no negotiation has been made, no settlement has been done and no agreement has been reached by parties.”

According to her, in the circumstances, we urge this honourable court to allow us to arraign the defendants.

“Take a date for arraignment,” Justice Omotosho responded.

After counsel agreed, the matter was adjourned till October 14 for arraignment.

The EFCC alleged that Nwabuoku, Nweke, Temeeo Synergy Concept Limited (at large), Turge Global Investment Limited (at large), Laptev Bridge Limited (at large), Arafura Transnational Afro Limited (at large) and other persons (at large) converted funds which are proceeds of unlawful activities to personal use.

The offence is contrary to Section 18 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (amended by Act No. 1 of 2012) and punishable under Section 15(2) (b) and (3) of the same Act.

In count two, Nwabuoku, Felix, Temeeo Synergy Concept Limited (at large), between September 2019 and October 2020 in Abuja, indirectly converted the sum of N262, 602,897.27 (Two Hundred and Sixty-Two Million, Six Hundred and Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Ninety-Seven Naira Twenty Seven Kobo).

The money was alleged to have been paid into the Zenith Bank account of Temeeo Synergy Concept Limited (at large), with account number: 1016901286, knowing that the funds constituted proceeds of unlawful activity.

The offence, the EFCC said, is contrary to Section 15(2) (b) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012), among other counts.

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