The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, re-arraigned the quartet of Colonel Nicholas Ashinze, former special assistant to the embattled former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd); an Austrian, Wolfgang Reinl; Edidiong Idiong and Sagir Mohammed before Justice Babatunde Quardri of the Federal High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on a 13-count charge of corruption and money laundering to the tune of N3.6billion.
Ashinze and his co-accused were arraigned alongside five companies accused of allegedly diverting huge sums from the office of the former NSA.
The companies are: Geonel Integrated Services Limited, Unity Continental Nigeria Limited, Helpline Organisation, Vibrant Resource Limited and Sologic Integrated Services Limited.
The defendants were initially arraigned before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on November 23, 2016 before the matter was transferred to Quadri’s court following the withdrawal of the former from the case on March 14.
After reading their charge to them, the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts preferred against them.
In view of their pleas, counsel to EFCC, I. O. Uket prayed the court for a trial date, to enable the prosecution prove its case. Uket equally informed the court that the prosecution “has already applied for all the exhibits tendered earlier to be released to us, to enable the prosecution call its witnesses”.
Meanwhile, Ashinze’s counsel, Ernest Nwoye, prayed the court to allow his client to continue enjoying the bail previously granted him by Justice Kolawole.
“The first defendant has been on bail on self-recognition, granted by your brother Justice Kolawole on November 23, 2016.
Since then, he has been punctual for the past two years.
On that ground, we urge my lord to also extend that discretion to enable him continue his service to the fatherland”, Nwoye said.
Other counsel in the matter also joined in making similar application for their respective clients.
Justice Quadri, thereafter, adjourned to October 4, 2018, for commencement of trial and ordered that the
“defendants are to continue enjoying the bails previously granted them by Justice Kolawole”.
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