The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission, Nicholas Ebomo.
Ebomo was arraigned along with three others on Monday before Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged abuse of office.
The other defendants are Airworld Technologies LTD, Oyien Homes LTD, and one Blessing Mutu who is said to be at large.
Mutu is being prosecuted on 11 counts of alleged financial crimes.
When the charge was read to the former lawmaker, he pleaded not guilty to the financial crimes.
Upon taking his plea, lawyer to the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, requested for a trial date and asked the court to remand the defendant in a correctional facility.
But Mutu’s lawyer, P. Nikwueto, told the court that his client was ready for the trial and if the prosecution was not ready, he would apply for bail.
In his response, Iheanacho opposed the application for the bail of the defendant.
He said, “My lord, we cannot take the risk we took in 2018 when we granted him bail. He was released in the name of one Anthony John Ikpoyi.
“From that day till date, the defendant dishonoured the terms and conditions of bail and never showed up to EFCC office. My lord, so many efforts were made, including arresting the sureties, yet he refused to show up.”
Ruling on the bail application, Justice Ogunbanjo granted temporary freedom to Mutu, saying she took judicial notice of the administrative bail which the EFCC earlier granted to the lawmaker.
The judge, thereafter, adjourned the case until February 25, March 4 and 5, April 22 and 28, as well as May 5 and 6 for trial.
One of the charges read, “That you, Honourable Nicholas Mutu Ebomo (M) whilst being the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission between August 2014 and August 2016 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did procure Airworld Technologies Ltd to conceal of the sum of N320,159, 689.63 (Three hundred and twenty million, one hundred and fifty-nine thousand, six hundred and eighty-nine naira, sixty-three kobo) to be paid by Starline Consultancy Services Ltd when you reasonably ought to have known that the said sum of N320, 159, 689.63 formed part of proceeds of corruption, gratification and fraudulent acquisition of property and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(c) (d) 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.”