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EFCC arraigns Isabella Oshodin in N22.9bn money laundering scandal

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ISABELLA Oshodin was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday alongside Bob Oshodin Organisation Ltd before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on charges of money laundering.

A 25-count charge was slammed on Oshodin and the owners of Bob Oshodin Organisation Ltd for their alleged role in the illegal transactions made from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA headed by Sambo Dasuki to the tune of over N22 billion.

Investigations carried out by the anti-graft agency revealed that Oshodin on 16 different occasions had received various sums of money to the tune of N2,366,000,000 which was allegedly laundered through her account from ONSA.

At the hearing, the presiding judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, allowed the charges to be read to the defendants.

“That you, Mrs. Isabela Mimie Oshodin, Bob Oshodin Organisation Ltd and Robert (Bob) Oshodin (still at large) on or about 22nd June, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court directly transferred the sum of $7,712,598 (Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety-eight Dollars) to one Portfolio Escrow Company with account number 3102004330 domiciled in California Republic Bank, United States of America,” it reads.

“Which sum you reasonably ought to have known to proceed of an unlawful act of Sambo Dasuki, the then National Security Adviser to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Provision) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act,” count two of the charges read.

The EFCC also revealed that the defendant on eight occasions received from Dasuki’s ONSA sums totalling $57,217,301.15 into the Escrow accounts of Bob Oshodin Organisation Ltd.

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The defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when it was read to her.

In view of her plea, prosecuting counsel, Aisha Tahar Habib asked the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial.

“I have noticed my lord the second defendant is not represented, notwithstanding, in view of the first defendant’s plea of not guilty, I will like to ask for a date for trial,” she said.

However, counsel for the defendant, Osahor Odemodia, informed the court of the bail application for his client and urged the court to grant her bail on liberal terms, pending the commencement of trial.

But Habib opposed the application for bail, informing the court of a counter-affidavit filed on July 10, 2019, and so urged the court to refuse her bail, and instead, give the case accelerated hearing.

The trial judge adjourned to August 21 and ordered the defendant to be remanded in EFCC custody pending the ruling on the bail application.

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Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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