Abba Moro in court today
– Nigeria’s former minister of the interior, Comrade Abba Moro, will join some other prominent Nigerians in Kuje prison today, February 29
– Moro was detained by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, February 22
– The ex-minister was re-invited by the EFCC recently over the N650 million immigration recruitment scandal in which some job seekers lost their lives A former minister of the interior, Comrade Abba Moro and other accused people in the 2014 Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment scam is to be remanded in Kuje prison custody.
At the court sitting today, February 29, the three accused, having listened to all the charges against them pleaded not guilty. After taking their pleas, the prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, asked the court to fix a date for trial. He also asked that the accused be remanded in prison custody.
The counsel to the defendants informed the court that applications for bail had been filed. However, the prosecution said they were served late on Friday and they would need time to reply to the applications. Chris Uche, lawyer to the second defendant, said his client, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia, is a nursing mother and already on administrative bail by the EFCC.
He also said the law mandated that the prosecution serve the defendant with proof of evidence seven days before arraignment to respond and apply for bail. Making a special case for the second defendants, Uche applied that administrative bail granted to Daniel-Nwobia by the EFCC be extended by the court.
On hearing the application without an objection from the prosecution, the judge Anwuli Chikere granted the nursing mother bail. “The administrative bail granted to the second defendant is to continue under the same condition while the first and third defendants be remanded in prison custody,” Chikere said.
She also adjourned the matter to Thursday, March 3 for hearing on the application. The former minister of interior and all his fellow accused pleaded not guilty to the 11-count charge filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Moro alongside three others – a deputy director in the ministry, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia; F. O Alayebami; one Mahmood Ahmadu(who is at large) – are accused of contracting a botched recruitment job to Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited, an Drexel unregistered company, the EFCC claimed. The commission also alleged that the company had no legal rights to conduct such a contract especially without an advert contrary to 40, 42 and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 and punishable under section 58 of the same act.
The charges, an 11-count charge by the EFCC, include obtaining money by false pretences, procurement fraud and money laundering. These charges follow a botched immigration recruitment operation that led the deaths of 20 job seekers in Nigeria on March 15, 2014.
The defendants are said to have obtained by false pretences the sum of N676,675,000 from job seekers who paid N1,000 each to take part in the Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment exercise. One of the charges read:
“One of the accused Mahmood Ahmadu (who is at large) in connivance with Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd, lavished the total of N423,800,000.00(Four Hundred and Twenty Three Million, Eight Hundred Thousand naira) part of the N676,675,000 (Six Hundred and Seventy Six Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira) gotten from the applicants on the following: the sum N202, 500, 000( Two Hundred and Two Million Five Hundred Thousand naira ) in purchase of a property in a choice area of the Federal Capital territory, N120, 100,000 (One Hundred and twenty Million One hundred Thousand Naira ) used in upgrading a property in Abuja, while the total of N101, 200, 000( One Hundred and One Million Two Hundred thousand Naira) was converted to United states dollars for personal use.”
Meanwhile, reports last week in the media suggested that the fugitive businessman, Mahmood Ahmadu, who is on the run over the 2014 sham immigration recruitment, has shut down three of his companies located in the United Kingdom (UK).