A former Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission, Nicholas Mutu, was arraigned before a Federal High Court Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the alleged abuse of office and N320m fraud.
Nicholas, who is representing Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, was arraigned on 11 counts alongside Airworld Technologies Limited, Oyien Homes Ltd, and one Blessing Mutu, who is said to be on the run.
Under the auspices of Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo, the EFCC alleged, among others that Mutu, while he was the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, between August 2014 and August 2016 “did procure Airworld Technologies Limited to conceal the sum of N320,159, 689.63 to be paid by Starline Consultancy Services Limited, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said sum of N320, 159, 689.63 formed part of proceeds of corruption, gratification and fraudulent acquisition of property.”
The offence was said to be contrary to Section 18(c) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended by Act No. 1 of (2012) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
However, Mutu pleaded not guilty to the 11 counts levelled against him and his co-accused by the EFCC.
Meanwhile, the counsel to the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, opposed the grant of a bail application requested by the counsel to the defendant, Patrick Ikweto (SAN), on the basis that the commission had previously granted an administrative bail which he never honoured. He thereby requested the judge to fix a date for trial and remand the defendant in prison.
However, the judge in his ruling directed the defendant to continue in the previous administrative bail granted him by the EFCC. Therefore, the judge adjourned till February 25 for trial.