Court Refuses To Hear Agunloye’s Preliminary Objection in Trial for Alleged $6bn Fraud

Justice Jude Onwuegbuzie of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Monday declined to hear the preliminary objection raised by former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, on his trial for alleged $ billion fraud.

Agunloye had in a motion filed through his lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), challenged the powers of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute him on the alleged $6 billion Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station fraud.

He also sought an order restraining the commission from prosecuting him on the charge.

The former minister added that the anti-graft agency lacked both investigative and prosecutorial powers under Sections 6, 7 & 46 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004.

The EFCC arraigned Agunloye on a seven-count charge of fraudulent award of a contract and official corruption in January.

The commission alleged that the defendant on May 222, 2003 awarded a contract titled: “Construction of 3,960MW Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station on a Build, Operate and Transfer Basis,” to Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited without any budgetary provision, approval, and cash backing.

It also claimed that Agunloye on August 10, 2019, corruptly received the sum of N3.6 million from Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited and Leno Adesanya for having conveyed the approval of the Federal Government for the construction of the 3,960MW Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station in favour of SPTCL without the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At Monday’s proceeding, the judge said the application was not ripe for hearing.

He subsequently adjourned the matter till February 26.