By Mabel Yakubu
Abuja – Former FCT Minister’s son, Shamsudeen Bala, was on Tuesday re-arraigned at the Federal High Court Abuja, for an alleged 15-count amended charge bordering on money laundering.
Bala, alongside four companies, were arraigned on Feb. 1 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on a 15-count charge, bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.1 billion.
The four companies are: Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd, Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd, and Bal-Vac Mining Nigeria Ltd.
At the resumed hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Ben Ikani, informed the court of an amended charge dated May 25, which was served on the defense.
The amended charge according to Ikani was to specify the various amount of money in local and foreign currencies found in the accused person’s account number 0000895020 domiciled with Standard Chartered bank.
Chris Uche (SAN), the Defense Counsel, however informed the court that the prosecution gave him a copy of the amended charge only this mornin, saying it was against the practice.
He said that although the matter was adjourned for some months, the prosecution did not do the needful.
“This is more serious than how the prosecution is seeing it, he is trying to prosecute the first defendant on a matter he was not arraigned for, I urge the court for more time to study the charge,’’ Uche argued.
The court agreed with the defence and faulted the prosecution for not serving the defendants with the amended charge on time.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the amended charges when read to him and his counsel urged the court to allow him enjoy the existing bail conditions earlier granted.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in his ruling held that the defendant shall continue to enjoy the bail conditions earlier granted him and adjourned the matter till June 26, for continuation of hearing.