By Kalada Jumbo
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court in Abuja has declared President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s cousin, Mr Robert Azibaola, innocent of the $40 million fraud case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court, Abuja, had fixed today, May 27, 2019 to rule on the matter.
Azibaola and his company, One Plus Holdings, faces a two-count charge of money laundering and criminal breach of trust. They allegedly received $40 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) during the tenure of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) without any contract agreement.
The EFCC had on June 7, 2016 charged Azibaola, his wife, Stella, and the company to court on an amended nine-count charge on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption. They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, which subsequently resulted in the commencement of their trial.
After the EFCC, through its counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, closed the case of the prosecution on January 23, 2017, calling 10 witnesses and tendering several documents, the defence filed a “no-case” submission on March 19, 2018.
Ruling on the application, Justice Dimgba sustained two of the nine counts, and held that there was no prima facie case established against Stella.
Subsequently, Azibaola and One Plus were ordered to open their defence on the remaining two counts, as Stella’s name was struck off the charge sheet.
He thereafter took to the dock to testify in his defence and denied diverting money to his personal use.
On February 6, 2019, his defence team led by Chris Uche (SAN) closed its defence, after calling two witnesses, including Azibaola, and presented several documents.
At the resumed sitting March 29, both parties adopted their final written addresses before Justice Dimgba adjourned till May 27 for judgement.