• Defendant denies wrongdoing, … • Court to rule on bail application August 21
A woman said to be based in the United States of America (U.S.A), Mrs. Isabella Oshodin, was arraigned on Monday at a Federal High Court in Abuja on a 25-count charge bordering on money laundering of N22,964,228,414.
Mrs. Oshodin, who was arraigned with a company, Oshodin Organisation Limited, was accused of unlawfully receiving the money from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) under Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
In the case filed against Mrs. Oshodin by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the anti-graft agency alleged, among others, that she, on 16 occasions, received N500,000,000; N750,000,000; N125,000,000; N350,000,000; N170,000,000; N85,000,000; N60,000,000; N50,000,000 and other sums totalling N2,366,000,000 from the Office of the NSA.
The EFCC also alleged that the defendant, on eight occasions, received from the Office of the NSA funds amounting to $57,217,301.15 into the Escrow accounts of Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited.
A count in the charge reads: “That you, Mrs. Isabela Mimie Oshodin, Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited and Mr. Robert (Bob) Oshodin (said to be on the run) on or about June 22, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable courtc directly transferred $7,712,598 to one Portfolio Escrow Company with account number 3102004330 domiciled in California Republic Bank, United States of America, which sum you reasonably ought to have known to be proceed of an unlawful act of Sambo Dasuki (retd), the then National Security Adviser, to wit: criminal breach of trust, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Provision) Act, 2011, as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to her.
Her lawyer, Osahon Idemudia, informed the court about a pending bail application filed by the defendant.
With the court’s permission, Idemudia moved the bail application, saying the prosecution was only trying to treat a civil contract transaction as a criminal matter.
Idemudia said: “This has to do with a civil contract transaction. It is either a misunderstood commercial transaction or someone is being mischievous. The defendants sold their furniture factory to the Federal Government for $55 million.
“They have only paid half of the money, which the prosecution has calculated as N22.9 billion. The money stated in the charges, which they claimed to be money laundering, is actually payment for the purchase of the furniture factory.”
The defence lawyer averred that a copy of the contract for the sale of the factory had been exhibited before the court and that the prosecution admitted its existence in the counter-affidavit it filed.
He prayed the court to grant his client bail on liberal terms, on the grounds that she was a decent person who was troubled by the turn of event.
Idemudia denied the prosecution’s insinuation that the defendant may not be available for trial, if allowed on bail.
“She is not a flight risk. She is available to stand trial. She is someone who is ready and eager to clear her name,” he said.
The defence lawyer, who told the court that his client was suffering from some health conditions and needed medical attention, having been kept in custody for 70 days by the EFCC, drew the court’s attention to the order it made on August 9 that the defendant be taken to a medical facility.
He said the EFCC had not complied with the order and sought the court’s intervention on the matter.
Prosecution lawyer Mrs. Aisha Habeeb faulted Idemudia’s argument and urged the court to be guided by the need to ensure that the defendant was available to stand trial.
Mrs. Habeeb said Mrs. Oshodin’s husband was in the U.S.A, adding that it could be difficult to have the defendant return to stand trial, if proper precautionary measures were not taken and she is granted bail and allowed to travel to the U.S.
After listening to arguments from both lawyers, Justice Taiwo Taiwo ordered that Mrs. Oshodin be taken back to the EFCC custody, pending the ruling on the bail application on August 21.
The judge rejected Idemudia’s suggestion that Mrs. Oshodin be taken to a medical facility, in furtherance of the court’s August 9 ruling, where she should remain until the day for the ruling.
Instead, the judge directed both lawyers to ensure that the August 9 order is complied with by the prosecution, pending the date set for ruling.