Court remands TRANSCORP chiefs in prison

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THREE top officials of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (TRANSCORP) Plc who were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for their alleged complicity in mismanaging N15 billion, were yesterday remanded in Kuje Prison by a Federal High Court, Abuja Division, until June 9, 2009 when the court will hear their bail applications.

They are the company's Group Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tom Iseghohi, Deputy General Manager, Mr. Mike Okoli, and Legal Adviser /Company Secretary, Mr. Mohammed Buba.

The trial Judge, Anwuri Chikere, issued the order after they entered a "not guilty" plea to each of the 32-count charge.

Just before the order, however, EFCC's counsel, Mr. Mela Nunghe, told the court that the commission was still conducting investigations into the matter with the possibility of bringing more charges against the accused persons.

The EFCC counsel then asked the court for an adjournment and to remand the accused persons in prison custody as the commission's facility to keep them was over-stretched and insufficient.

But counsel to all the accused persons, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), told the court that they have been behind bars for about 20 days before their arraignment in court contrary to section 35(5a) of the 1999 Constitution.

In her ruling, Justice Chikere acceded to the adjournment and ordered that they be held in the custody of Kuje Prison.

Essentially, the charges include:

 

  • "That you Thomas Iseghohi (M) (2) Mohammed Buba and (3) Mike Okoli on or about the 10th day of July 2007 while acting in your respective official capacities as the Group Managing Director (GMD), Company Secretary and Deputy General Manager (DGM) with intent to defraud Transnational Corporation (TRANSCORP) Plc and confer benefits onto yourselves conspired among yourself to commit an offence to with disguising and concealing the sum of N15 billion through fraudulent issuance of contract, payment of legal fees, consultancy fees, professional fees, adverts, public relations and general management of NITEL and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 17 a and c of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004.

     

  • "That you Thomas Iseghohi (M) (2) Mohammed Buba and (3) Mike Okoli on or between May 2007 to September 2008 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court while acting in your respective official capacities as the Group Managing Director, Company's Secretary and Deputy General Manager (DGM) Transnational Corporation (TRANSCORP) Plc with intent to defraud Transnational Corporation (TRANSCORP) Plc by false pretence fraudulently awarded contracts to various companies, that is, Ankor Pointe Integrated Ltd, Harmattan Ventures Limited, Lansark International Ltd etc, which said payments approvals were above your approval limit and fraudulently effected the transfer and payment of various sums of money totalling N15 billion to the above companies and thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 1 sub 1 a, b, 1 sub 2 and 1 sub 3 of the Advance fee fraud and other related act 2006."

     

In addition EFCC alleged that the accused persons siphoned various sums of money through the accounts of Centre Spread FCB, FCB Redline Nigeria Ltd, Amplified Nigeria Ltd and Oasis Management Services.

(Source:Guardian)

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