By Sandra Umeh
Lagos – A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday further adjourned the trial of a former Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Tuoyo Omatsuli, and others charged with N3.6 billion fraud until Jan. 31.
Omatsuli is charged alongside Don Parker Properties Ltd., Francis Momoh and Building Associates Ltd., as second, third and fourth defendants, respectively.
They were arraigned on a 45-count charge bordering on corruption, gratification, fraud and money laundering.
They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail of N100 million each with two sureties each in like sum.
Trial has since commenced in the suit with the prosecution calling 10 witnesses already.
Meanwhile, the suit which was scheduled for continuation of trial on Friday was stalled following the absence of the trial judge, Justice Saliu Saidu, who was said to be away for a conference.
The case has now been fixed for Jan. 31 for continuation of trial.
According to the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between August 2014 and September 2015.
The first defendant was said to have procured the third and fourth defendant (Momoh and Building Associates) to use the N3.6 billion paid by Starline Consultancy Services into an account operated by fourth accused.
The prosecution said that they ought to have known that the said sums formed part of the proceeds of their unlawful activities which included corruption and gratification.
The offences contravene the provisions of Sections 15(1), 15(2), 15(3) and 18 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended by Act No 1 of 2012.