Court adjourns ex-Adamawa Gov, Fintiri’s N1.9bn fraud trial to July 8

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Justice A.R. Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has adjourned the trial of a former Adamawa State governor, Ahmadu Fintiri to July 8, 2019.

Fintiri, a former lawmaker, who was recently elected as governor of the state, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a five-count charge bordering on bribery and money laundering alongside Mayim Construction and Properties Limited.

He was first arraigned on June 30, 2016 for allegedly defrauding the state by laundering money to the tune of N1.9 billion through his naira and dollar bank accounts. He is also accused of making large cash payment for the purchase of landed property in Abuja during the time he served as acting governor of Adamawa State.

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He is also alleged to have during the time he served as acting governor, used N220 million to acquire a property at No 7 Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja, and also repaid a N550 million loan he secured from a bank for the acquisition of a Tea plantation farm from Nigeria Agricultural Bank in Taraba State.

Count five of the charges reads: “That you, Ahmadu Fintiri and Mayim Construction and Properties Ltd, between the 3rd of June 2014 and 4th of August 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did retain in your US Dollars account domiciled at Ecobank Plc, the aggregate sum of $4,830,000 (Four Million Eight Hundred and Thirty Thousand Dollars) which sum you knew formed part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: corruption and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012.”

Ibrahim Welye, a former Secretary to the Adamawa State Government, while testifying as the first prosecution witness, had on June 6, 2018 told the court that certain contracts awarded by Fintiri, including the electrification of Kirshinga Village in Madagali Local Government Area of the state, had no approvals.

Welye in a petition dated May 11, 2015 to the EFCC, also alleged that Fintiri fraudulently diverted N497 million meant for the construction of a lecture theatre for the Faculty of Law, Adamawa State University, Mubi, laying only the foundation and never completing the project.

At the resumed sitting today, May 14, 2019 M.E. Eimonye, who stood in for the lead prosecuting counsel, Aso Larry Peters, notified the court that the witness, who had been billed to undergo cross-examination by the defence counsel, could not make it to the court due to logistic issues.

Eimonye, therefore, prayed the court to adjourn to a later date.

Counsel for Fintiri, Mahmud Abubakar Magaji, SAN, raised no objections.

Justice Mohammed, thereafter, adjourned the case for “continuation of cross-examination”.

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Tony Orilade
Tony Orilade
Tony Orilade, a Nigerian journalist, is Acting Head, Media and Publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja, Nigeria. This is an official statement from him. The headline might have been slightly modified.

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