Shamsudeen Bala, son of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, used a tech company as conduit in an alleged N1.2 billion fraud, an Abuja court has been told.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week arraigned Bala before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 15-count charge of alleged N1.2 billion money laundering.
EFFC told the court that a tech company, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd, is one of the four companies used allegedly as conduit pipes in the alleged fraud said to run into N1.2 billion.
The former FTC Minister’s son is being charged along with four companies – Bird Trust Agro Allied Limited, Intertrans Global Logistic Ltd, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd and Bal-Vac Mining Nigeria Limited, in the alleged fraud.
“EFFC told the court that a tech company, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd, is one of the four companies used allegedly as conduit pipes in the alleged fraud said to run into N1.2 billion.”
According to EFCC, Bala and Diakin Telecommunications Ltd allegedly paid the sum of N74,244,005 (seventy-four million, two hundred and forty-four thousand, five naira) to Abuja Investment Company Ltd without going through a Financial Institution. The offence is in breach of Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended in 2012), the law enforcement agency said in the court charge.
One of the EFCC counts reads:
“That you, Shamsudeen Bala (alias Shamsudeen Mohammed Bala), Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd and Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd sometime in 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did without going through a Financial Institution make cash payment of the sum of N296,000,000 (Two hundred and ninety six million naira) only to A & K Constructions Ltd Abuja and Sunrise Estate Development Ltd for Construction of a house on plot nos 2116 and 2276 at Asokoro Gardens (alias Sunrise Estate) Abuja, which sum exceeded the statutory limit and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) and (4) of the same Act”.
Another charge reads:
“That you, Shamsudeen Bala and Bal-Vic Mining Nig. Ltd sometime in 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did without going through a Financial Institution made cash payment of the sum of N45,475,000 (Forty-five million, four hundred and seventy-five thousand naira) only to Abuja Investment Company Ltd as part of payment for purchase of House FS 2 B Green Acre Estate Apo-Dutse Abuja.”
However, Bala pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him. Upon his plea, counsel to EFCC, Ben S. Ikani asked the court to fix a date for trial and for the remand of the accused in prison custody pending trial.
But Bala’s counsel, Chris Uche (SAN) told the court that he had a pending application dated and filed January 27, 2017 praying for the release of the accused on bail.
He also said that aside the health challenges faced by the accused, the EFCC had earlier granted him administrative bail which he had not breached. He urged the court to admit him to bail on same conditions set by the EFCC assuring that, the accused would be available to stand his trial.
Justice Dimgba adjourned ruling on the bail application to February 3 while fixing March 27 for commencement of trial. When the case resumed on February 3, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja ordered the remand of the son of a former FCT Minister in Kuje prison pending the perfection of his bail terms.
He was also admitted to bail in the sum of N100million with two sureties in the sum of N50million each.
According to the court, the sureties must either be a private businessmen or public servant not below the rank of assistant director. The sureties must have landed properties in Abuja or within Lagos metropolis excluding satellite towns.
The defendant must produce three years tax clearance and must not travel without the consent of the court. The defendant must also comply with Section 15 of the ACJA, 2015 or depose to an affidavit in case of delay by the EFCC.