Court adjourns Masari’s case over alleged N107.7m fraud

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has adjourned to July 2, for continuation of hearing in the case involving the former Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Bature Masari.

Masari is under prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before Justice Okon Abang.

Allegations preferred against Masari were on a 17-count charge bordering on money laundering and primarily emanating from the stated whooping sum of money.

EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, said this in a statement and explained that Masari’s initial arraignment by the Commission was on May 27.

He added that one of the charges reads: “That you Bature Umar Masari on or about the 27th November, 2014, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of the honourable court did transfer the sum of N9, 000,000 (Nine Mllion Naira) only, to one Benjamin I. Aboho, from your Diamond Bank Account No.0041899190, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said money formed part of the sum of N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira) only, paid to you as gratification by Hamshakin ventures Ltd and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (6) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.

It also reported that at the resumed hearing yesterday, Justice Abang asked the defence counsel, Abubakar Mogaji, to furnish the court with the document upon which he relied on to object to the evidence of the prosecution at the last hearing.

But Mogaji, it was learnt, disclosed that he had unfortunately misplaced the document and therefore withdrew his objection.

He, however, pleaded with the court to move a motion on the abuse of court process which the judge had already ruled.

Yet, the prosecution counsel, Iheanacho Ekene, objected to the plea, arguing that the matter had become “functus officio”.

In his ruling, Justice Abang adjourned the case to July 2 and October 8 for continuation of trial.

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