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Ex-NDDC Committee Chair, Mutu, Arraigned for ‘Fraud’

A former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nicholas Mutu Ebomo has been arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on charges of fraud and abuse of office.
Mutu was arraigned on Monday, with two firms – Airworld Technologies Ltd and Oyien Homes Ltd – on an 11-count charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/123/2019 filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mutu pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. Pleas of not guilty were also entered for the other defendants.
After the arraignment, the prosecuting lawyer,  Ekele Iheanacho requested for a trial date and prayed the court to remand the 1st defendant (Mutu)  in prison.
His lawyer, Patrick Ikweto (SAN) said the defence was equally ready for the trial.
Ikweto then prayed the court to grant bail to the 1st defendant, noting that he has been on the administrative bail garnted him earlier by the EFCC.
He noted that Mutu attended court on Monday from his home and on his own volition.
Responding, Iheanacho objected to bail for the 1st defendant and 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, SAN.
“From that day till date, the defendant dishonoured the terms and conditions of bail, and never showed up to EFCC office. So many efforts were made including arresting the sureties, yet he refused to show up.
“Even the record of the court shows that the matter came up on three different times, but it couldn’t go on because they couldn’t produce the first defendant.
“So, my lord, his coming today to court is not voluntarily, but because of fear that arrest warrant is to be issued against him.”

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In a ruling, Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo allowed Mutu to remain on the administrative bail earlier granted him by the EFCC.
The judge adjourned till February 25 this year for trial.
A count in the charge reads:”That you, Hon. 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.”

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