Former head of service of Nigeria, Stephen Oronsaye, has been charged as a thief and conman in an amendment to the old charges against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), one of the country’s main anti-graft agencies.
Oronsaye now has an amended 35-count charge to battle against before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a federal high court, Abuja.
In the amended version dated November 2, 2015, Oronsaye is being charged with the managing director of Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, Osarenkhoe Afe; Fedrick Hamilton Global Services Limited; Cluster Logistic Limited; Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Limited; and Drew Investment & Construction Company Limited.
The News reports that while Oronsaye and Afe were in court, the other accused were not.
This prompted the prosecuting counsel, Leke Atolagbe, to cite Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, urging the court to enter a plea of not guilty for the defendants who were not represented in court as well as order that the trial can proceed.
The judge granted the plea as Joe Agbi and Oluwole Aladedoye, both counsels to Oronsaye, Afe and Fedrick Hamilton Global Services Limited did not object.
“In the absence of the fourth, fifth and sixth defendants, Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 shall be applied to each of them, except if it is later shown that they were not served with the amended charges, in the interest of justice,” Justice Kolawole declared.
Count one of the new charges reads: “That you Stephen Oronsaye, Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina (now at large) Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited on or about 2nd July, 2010 in Abuja, collaborated in disguising genuine nature of the sum of N161,472,000 derived from an illegal act to wit: conducting procurement fraud by means of fraudulent and corrupt act on the contract extension of biometric enrolment purportedly awarded to Innovative Solutions Limited by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation without following due process and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14 (1) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.”
The second count reads: “That you Stephen Oronsaye and Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina (now at large) between April and May 2010 in Abuja, collaborated in disguising genuine nature an aggregate sum of N131,038,425 derived from an illegal act to wit; conducting procurement fraud by means of fraudulent and corrupt act on the contract of biometric enrolment purportedly awarded to Moshfad Enterprises by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation without following due process and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14 (1) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.”
They both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The judge therefore adjourned the case to June 9, 2016 for commencement of judicial trial and allowed the accused to continue to enjoy their bail.
Before the amendment, Oronsaye had been facing a 25-count charge since July 13, 2015.
The former head of service to the federation had been accused of fixing federal government’s money in the bank for his personal gain.
During the continued trial today, April 13, a prosecution witness, Olubumi Ojoko told the court that the Oronsaye fixed N285 million belonging to the federal government in his account with Access bank.
Ojoko, a staff of the bank said the money came in four lodgement – N50 million, N90 million, N45 million and N100 million. The witness also said that the second money – a N90 million lodgement – was put in a fixed deposit for 90 days at 9% on the instructions of the former head of service.