Bayelsa lawyer George Turnah docked again over N2.9b fraud

George Turnah: FACES retrial
George Turnah: docked again for fraud case

Bayelsa Lawyer George Turnah, the Special Adviser to Dan Abia, the former managing director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been docked again by the EFCC over a N2.9billion fraud.

Turnah was docked, alongside two others and nine companies, before Justice Mohammed Turaki of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The case, which is a retrial began on 22 January.

The defendants were re-arraigned on an amended twenty-three count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretense, money laundering and abuse of office.

The co- defendants with Turnah are: Ebis Orubebe and Uzorgor Silas Chidiebere.

They were arraigned alongside El- Godams Global Services Ltd., Turnoil and Gas Nigeria Ltd., Kolo Creek Petroleum Development Ltd., Celtic Pride Consult and Events Ltd., Yenagoa Mall Ltd., the Incorporated Trustees of Concerned Niger Delta Initiative., Akara Boro Marine Services Ltd., Sugarland Integrated Farms Nig. Ltd and Geohan Telecommunications Nig. Ltd.

Count 6 of the charge reads: “that you George Turnah Alabh, Uzogor Silas Chidiebere, El-Godams Global Services Ltd., Turnoil and Gas Nigeria Ltd, Kolo Creek Petroleum Dev. Ltd, Celtic Pride Consult and Events Ltd, Yenagoa Mall Ltd, The Incorporated Trustees of Concerned Niger Delta Initiative, Adaka Boro Marine Services Ltd, Sugarland Integrated Farms Nig. Ltd, Geohan Telecommunication Nig. Ltd and others at large, on or about the 24th day of November, 2014, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did take possession of the sum of Seven Hundred and Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N708,500,000.00) which you reasonably ought to know that the monies is obtained by a false pretence from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) purportedly for the purpose of providing quick win jobs for 300 youths and women groups and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under 15 (3) of the same Act”.

Count 23 of the charge reads, “that you George Turnah Alabh in 2014 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did receive the sum of $1000,000.00 (One Million United State Dollars) (at the exchange rate of N184 to a Dollar) cash from one Umar Lawal of Hakuri Global Concept exceeding the statutory limit without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act”.

They pleaded “not guilty” to the charge when they were read to them.

Prosecution counsel, I. Agwu, adopted the subsisting evidence on record, praying the court that “we shall not be calling any other witness or any other prosecution witness who earlier testified before this court”.

Defence counsel, Professor Amuda Kaneke, SAN, prayed that the bail granted the defendants be maintained.

He also prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him study the amended charge and further proceed with his defense. The prayers were not opposed by the prosecution.

Justice Turaki granted that the defendants continue to enjoy their existing bail.

He then adjourned the matter till March 15 for continuation of trial.

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