By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
Former aviation minister, Senator Stella Oduah was charged on Monday at the Federal High Court, Abuja with fraud and alleged financial impropriety.
However, the arraignment of the former minister was stalled as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to serve the charge on the fifth and sixth defendants.
EFCC counsel, Dr. Hassan Liman, SAN, then prayed for leave of court to serve the defendants, which are corporate bodies, at their addresses, within 14 days.
The EFCC accuses Stella and eight others of misappropriating funds while she was serving as a minister.
Oduah was accused of money laundering alongside Gloria Odita, Nwobu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Limited, Crystal Television Limited, Sobora International Limited and China Civil Engineering Construction Company Limited (CCECC).
One of the Counts read; “That you Stella Adaeze Oduah whilst being the Minister of Aviation, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Gloria Odita whilst being the Company Secretary to Sea Petroleum & Gas Company Ltd (SPGC), and an aide to the former Minister of Aviation on or about the 12th day of February, 2014 at Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court used your positions to transfer the sum of N1, 629,250,000.00 from 1-Sec Security Nig. Ltd account No. 2021756955 with First Bank Plc to Global Offshore and Marine Ltd account No. 2022977296 also domiciled with First Bank Plc, which money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (6) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
Presiding Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the matter till 19 April 2021, for arraignment.