N2.17bn Money Laundering EFCC Closes Case against Obadina, Company

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, February 26, 2024 closed its case against Olugbenga Obadina and his company, Almond Projects Limited before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja.

Obadina and Almond Projects Limited are standing trial on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, official corruption and money laundering to the tune of N2,17,190,000 (Two Billion, Seventeen Million, One Hundred and Ninety Thousand Naira), being payment received from the Office of the National Security Adviser on November 28, 2015 without any contractual agreement or approval.

Count three of the charge reads: “That you Olugbenga Obadina and Almond Projects Ltd on the 3rd of April, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, directly took possession or control of the sum of N 648,000,000.00 (Six Hundred and Forty Eight Million Naira) paid into the account of Almond Projects Ltd with Zenith Bank Plc Account No: 1010921116 from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria without contract award when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), the then National Security Adviser (To wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

Prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Buba closed his case, after presenting four witnesses, thus setting the stage for the defendant to enter his defence.

In his statement, Obadina who is the Chairman/CEO of Almond Projects Limited stated that he owned Almond Projects Limited, Intraflow Consulting, Terminal Zero Development Limited, Sunphos Africa Limited, Green Cowrie Energy, Giganorth East Limited, Ancient International, TES Power Limited and also a Director in Woks and Koi Oriental Restaurant.

He disclosed that he was invited by the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd) sometime in 2013 to discuss developing a Solar Farm Project. He confirmed the receipt of NGN 2, 017,190,000 from ONSA between 13/05/2013 and 16/04/2015. He disclosed further that there was no contract award, agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government.

He revealed that N271,600,000
(Two Hundred and Seventy-One Million,
Six Hundred Thousand Naira) was transferred to his personal account with Zenith Bank, stating that the balance in the N2,17,190,000 (Two Billion, Seventeen Million, One Hundred and Ninety Thousand Naira), were expended on the purchase of a plot of land in Parkview Ikoyi, purchase of a vehicle, purchase of foreign currencies from bureau de change and transfer of the procured foreign currencies to offshore accounts.

Obadina listed other expenditures made with the fund to include purchase of shares, payment of office rent, office running/payment of salaries, oil and gas investment, payment to travel agents, payments to his wife and to Yobe Solar Project.

In all, the funds were deployed to private use, with no evidence of any contract execution.

Justice Dimgba adjourned the matter to February 29, and March 1, 2024 for continuation of trial.