The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned Shamsudeen Bala, son of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 15-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion.
The younger Bala is charged along with four companies – Bird Trust Agro Allied Limited, Intertrans Global Logistic Limited, Diakin Telecommunications Limited and Bal-Vac Mining Nigeria Limited.
Bala and Diakin Telecommunications Limited allegedly made cash payment of N74.244 million to Abuja Investment Company Limited 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 EFRCC said.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him.
Upon his plea, the counsel to the 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.
However, 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 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.