The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned a former Senior Special Assistant to Kwara State governor on Sustainable Development Goals, Ope Saraki, on a money laundering charge.
Arraigned before Justice Babangana Ashigar of Federal High Court, Ilorin, Kwara State, on March 24, Saraki, a cousin to immediate-past President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, was alleged to have received a cash payment of N11.1m from one Kunle Adimula, an employee of Kwara State Government, in February 2019.
The sum, according to EFCC, “exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 and 16 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 of the same Act.”
While the prosecuting counsel, Sesan Ola, pushed for prompt commencement of the trial in order to enable the prosecution to call its witnesses and prove its case, the defence counsel, Dr Joshua Olatoke, SAN, on the other hand, citing the prevailing global crisis due to Coronavirus, urged the court to use its discretion to grant bail to the defendant pending the hearing and final determination of this case.
The defendant was subsequently granted bail in the sum of N10m with two sureties in like sum and with the condition that one of the sureties must reside in the jurisdiction of the court.
Justice Ashigar also ordered Saraki to submit his travel documents to the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.
Saraki will remain in the custody of the EFCC till he perfects his bail condition, while further hearing in the case had been adjourned until May 15, 2020.