EFCC Arraigns George Turnah, Seven Companies For N810m Scam

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday
arraigned a former Special Adviser to Dan Abia, erstwhile managing
director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, George
Turnah Alarbh and seven companies: El Godmas Global Servises Limited;
Turnoil and Gas Nigeria Limited; Kolo Creek Petroleum Development
Limited ; Celtic Pride Consult and Events; Yenagoa Mall, Adaka Boro
Marine Services Limited and Sugarland Intergrated farms Nigeria
Limited before Justice Ibrahim Watila of the Federal High Court
sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on a 12- count charge bordering
on obtaining money by false pretence, money laundering and abuse of
office.
As a prelude to the reading of the charges to the defendants,
prosecution counsel, A. Olatunji notified the court that defendants
2,3 and 9 were not in court and applied that the court strike out
their names from the charges, for the arraignment proceedings to
succeed.
In response, defense counsel, Prof. Amuda Kanike (SAN) did not oppose
the application. Justice Watila consequently granted the prayer and
ordered that defendants 2, 3 & 9 be struck out of the charges.
Count 1 read: “that you George Turnah Alabh, El-Godmas Global Services
Ltd, Celtic Pride Consult and Events, Geohan Telecommunications
Nigeria Ltd did conspire among yourselves to comit felony to wit:
money laundering, contrary to section 18(a) of the money Laundering
(Prohibition) Act, 2011 and purnishable under section 15(3) of the
same Act.
Count 11 read: “that you George Turnah Alabh, Kolo Creek Development
Ltd, Adaka Boro Marine Services Nigeria Ltd, Sugarland Integrated
Farms Nig. Ltd, and others at large on or about the 26th day of
January, 2015, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this
honourable court did convert the sum of Eight Hundred and Ten Million
naira (N810,000,000.00) which said sum was stolen from the funds made
available to the Niger Delta Youth Initiative by the Niger Delta
Development Commission for hosting Niger Delta Youths and thereby
committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(b) of the Money
laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended, and punishable under
section 15(3) of the same Act.
When the count charges were read to the defendants, they pleaded not
guilty to them.
In view of the plea of the defendants, prosecution counsel, A.
Olatunji applied for a date for trial and that the 1st defendant be
remanded in EFCC’s custody for ease of access to EFCC’s investigators
who are working on other matters involving the defendant.
She opposed any prospects of bail for the defendant, stressing that he
jumped the administrative bail earlier granted him by the EFCC.
Responding, Prof. Kanike orally applied for bail for the first
defendant on the basis that the “first defendant is holding a
privilege title of MON (Member of the Order of Nigeria).
He has never jumped bail and we can make oral application for bail
without filing a formal application. The purpose of bail is for the
defendant to face his trial so that he will not be able to run away.
He opposed the prayer of the prosecution that the first defendant be
remanded in EFCC’s custody.
Justice Watila adjourned the matter to 23 May, 2017 for ruling on bail
application. He ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC’s
custody.
In another development, counsel to the EFCC applied for an ex-parte
order for the interim forfeiture of money in the bank account of the
defendants. Justice Watila granted the Order.
George Turnah was arrested by the EFCC in connection with alleged
possession of funds running into two billion (N2,000,000,000.00)naira.
The said amount is suspected to be siphoned from the NDDC while the
defendant was serving as an Adviser between 2012 and 2015. He
deposited the said amount in several bank accounts.
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