2020 arraigned the immediate past Head of the Civil Service of the
Federation, HoCSF, Winnifred Oyo-Ita before Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the
Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. She was arraigned on 18 count
charge bordering on Fraud and Money Laundering.They are being prosecuted over a N570, 000, 000 (Five Hundred and
Seventy Million Naira) for offences which involve Corruption, Fraud,
Obtaining Estacodes and Duty Travel Allowance, DTA for journeys either
not undertaken or not in existence.
Others that were arraigned along with Oyo-Ita were: Frontline Ace Global
Services Limited; Asanaya Projects Limited; Garba Umar and his
companies: Slopes International Limited and Gooddeal Investments
Limited. Ubong Okon Effiok was equally arraigned with his companies: U
& U Global Services Limited and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.
One of the counts against Oyo-Ita reads: “That you WINIFRED OYO-ITA aka
Winifred Ekanett, whilst being the Head of Civil Service of the
Federation) between 2nd August, 2016 and 28th February, 2018 within the
jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took possession of an aggregate
Sum of N62,215,169 (Sixty Two Million, Two Hundred and Fifteen Thousand,
One Hundred and Sixty Nine Naira) only paid into your Zenith Bank
account No: 1001074067 knowing that the said funds formed part of the
proceed of an unlawful activity to wit: fraud (purported estacodes, fee
for journeys not embarked on) and you thereby committed an offence
contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act,
2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
They all pleaded not guilty to the 18 count charge.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, MS Abubakar, told the court
that he is fully aware of the Corona Virus pandemic ravaging the world,
and therefore urged the court to place stringent bail terms and
conditions that would not undermine the bail system.
“My lord, I hereby confirm and appreciate the fact that there is
epidemic worldwide which requires social distancing among other
measures; in the light of this, I have discussed with my colleagues at
the operation department concerning the conducts and antecedents of the
three defendants, all of whom were on administrative bail granted them
by the EFCC.
“The information I received from them indicated that the fourth and
seventh defendants, to a large extent, have honoured and respected the
terms of bail. But regarding the first defendant, our officers had
serious problems trying to serve her charge and also bringing her to
court for arraignment.
He nevertheless, urged the judge to impose stringent terms and
conditions that would ensure the availability of the defendants,
particularly the first defendant, Oyo-Ita, whose conducts and
antecedents, he said is nothing to write home about.
But counsels to the defendants: Paul Erokoro, SAN; A.C Ananukwa; Ebuka
Nwaeze and Okechukwu Ajunwa applied for less stringent bail in the light
of the corona virus pandemic.
In his ruling, the judge granted the former HoCSF bail in the sum of
N100, 000, 000 (One Hundred Million Naira), two sureties in like sum.
One of the surety, he said must be a Civil Servants not below grade
level 17 in any Federal Ministry, Agency and Parastatal. The sureties,
he further said must be residents of Abuja and one of them must be owner
of property worth N100, 000, 000 (One Hundred Million Naira) in the
Metropolis of Abuja. The sureties, the judge ruled, should depose to
affidavit of means and attach it to the affidavit. Also, the judge ruled
that the international passport of the first defendant should be
deposited with the Court Registrar.
The fourth and seventh defendant were granted bail in the sum of N50,
000, 000 (Fifty Million Naira) each and two sureties in like sum. One of
the sureties must be a Civil Servant not below grade level 17 in any
Federal Government Ministries, Agencies and Parastatal and the other
surety must be gainful employed and shall deposed affidavit of means
stating ability to pay N50, 000, 000 (Fifty Million Naira).
Beside, one of the sureties must own a property in the FCT worth N50,
000, 000, (Fifty Million Naira) while their international passports
should be deposited with the Court Registrar.
In the interim, the defendants are to be released to their respective
counsels who shall ensure that they report to the office of the EFCC for
the next seven days between the hours of 10am and 12 noon, when they are
expected to have fulfilled their bail conditions.
In the event that the bail conditions are not met within seven days, the
judge further ruled that all the defendants shall be remanded at the
EFCC custody until the conditions are met.
The judge thereafter adjourned the matter till May 27, 28 and 2, 3 and 4
of June, 2020 for trial.