he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 re-arraigned Gbenga Makanjuola, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, before Justice Maureen A. Onyetenu sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on an amended 11-count charge bordering on alleged conspiracy, accepting cash payment beyond threshold and money laundering to the tune of N3.5 billion ((Three Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira).
Makanjuola is charged along with Kolawole Shittu, cashier to the Senate; Robert Chidozie Mbonu, a former Managing Director, Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, SGBN (currently at large); Melrose General Services Limited and Obiora Amobi, Operation Manager, Melrose General Services Limited.
They were first arraigned on October 3, 2018 before Justice Babs O. Kuewumi of the same court.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Gbenga Makanjuola, sometime in December 2016 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of the sum of $500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) only from Kolawole Shittu 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 by Act No. 1 of 2012) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against them.
In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsel, Kamil Bashir, asked the court for a trial date.
In his response, counsel to the second defendant, Omeoga Chukwu, urged the court to allow the defendants to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted by the Justice Kuewumi, adding that “the terms were very stringent and verified by the EFCC.”
Justice Onyetenu granted the prayer of the defence on the existing bail.
The defendants were granted bail in the sum of N250 million each, with two sureties in like sums.
The sureties must be resident in Lagos and must have landed properties with Certificate of Occupancy, CoO, within the Lagos metropolis.
Also, the sureties must show tax clearance certificates and letters of identification from their banks.
Each of the defendants was ordered to deposit four recent passports with the Court Registrar.
The case was adjourned to May 20, 21 and 22, 2019 for commencement of trial.